Plan to read Satanic Verses in Islam centre

Society Materials 3 October 2007 02:24

( Gulfnews ) Berlin: A top German journalist aims to foster understanding between Muslims and Christians by using an Islamic centre for readings of a book that sparked riots and book-burnings in the Muslim world and sent its author into hiding.

Germany's largest network of mosques has rejected Guenter Wallraff's proposals for readings of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, which many Muslims see as an affront to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). But Wallraff is undeterred and says he will seek backing for his plan in Muslim Turkey.

"It's intended to break taboos in order to get to know each other and overcome prejudices," Wallraff said. "It's not intended to be a spectacle but a serious discussion."

Wallraff , close to Turks since working under cover as Turkish labourer "Ali" for a 1985 book exposing prejudice against "guest workers" here, supported Rushdie through his years of hiding. A reading of The Satanic Verses, he argues, need not offend but could stir dialogue between Islam and mainstream German society Muslims find difficult to penetrate.

"I'm well known in my neighbourhood and they regard me as a constructive person," he said.