Both staunch U.S. ally Pakistan, and bitter enemy and dark heart of the Axis of Evil - Iran have condemned the Rushdie Knighthood, announced today.
We could hope that at some time, The Satanic Verses 1989-2007 will be seen to bookend a relatively brief period of religious medievalism. That the Fatwah of 1989 merely represented the last gasp of a doomed ideology in the face of the explosion of global telecommunications.
Sadly the combined effects of information technology and a dwindling supply of oil will guarantee that religion is used as a battering ram for some time. And the potential liberation of thought and expression offered by the wider access to the means of production, distribution and exchange of information is instead threatened by C9th theological propaganda spread by the same media.
If this were only true of one religion, we might breathe a sigh of relief. As it is, the terrified reaction of religion under threat spreads from the Taliban of Afghanistan to the Scientologists of Los Angeles. And as a result, many people are suffering far more than Salman Rushdie.
I'll never forget Michael Ignatieff, from the safety of The Observer, calling for 'A Trade Union of Intellectuals' to confront the Fatwha. Inconveniently disregarding the principles of unity which underlie all unions.
If he meant business, he would have committed a correspondingly blasphemous act to match Rushdie's. And all his 'colleagues' would have joined in. Spartacus style. The entire liberal publishing industry from Mills & Boon to the OUP should have commissioned a pan-blasphemous logo or masthead, offensive to all religions and superstitions, and emblazoned it on all their publications.
But nobody was ever knocked off their feet by intellectuals storming into action.
The only trouble was that the gutter press were even bigger Quislings in the affair.