The recent bombing of a thousand year old Shia mosque in Samarra, Iraq brought the country to the brink of a civil war. More than hundred Sunni's were killed and the so-called round table talk between leaders of the sects were stalled, with each sect demanding apology from the other. As a result, hundreds of Sunni mosques were damaged. To put a temporary full stop to the crisis, leaders of Shia and Sunni non-moderate organizations have called for peaceful dialogues and have come up with new slogans against George Bush.
The recent cartoon crisis generated a tsunami of a reaction from the Islamic world and has already distanced itself from the common public in the Western world who agree that the cartoons were blasphemous and also strongly condemned the extremist reaction from the Muslims. The Scandinavian belt has remained together during the cartoon crisis inspite of their nationals and products disregarded vehemently in many Islamic countries.
That brings Salman Rushdie into the picture. Rushdie is a radical muslim, but not in the sense of the word that is commonly implied. His 'Satanic Verses' earned him a fatwa (death sentence) and international fame. The Nobel prize winners are very much decided by the Scandinavian scholars but heavily influenced by the Westerners. When I zoom out and look at the proceedings, I think Rushdie stands a very good chance of getting his prize in the next three years. But there will be controversies surrounding the choice because of his anti-Islam thoughts and people will forget that he's a genuine writer who desereved the prize. Remember, you heard it here first.
-- Originally written on 28th February, 2006 for CP.