IranAugust 18 2022, 15:01 pm

Pro-Iranian Government Media and Social Media Justify Salman Rushdie Stabbing

ExTrac, a con­flict ana­lyt­ics sys­tem, is report­ing that the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment and pro-Iran­ian gov­ern­ment media and social media have “enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly wel­comed” the recent stab­bing of British-Amer­i­can nov­el­ist Salman Rushdie. Accord­ing to a report by ExTrac:

August 15, 2022 This report sets out the main con­tours of how com­mu­ni­ties asso­ci­at­ed with and sup­port­ive of the Iran­ian government’s “axis of resis­tance” have been respond­ing to the 12 August attack on Indi­an-born British- Amer­i­can nov­el­ist Salman Rushdie. Focus­ing in par­tic­u­lar on sup­port­er- and mem­ber-lev­el per­cep­tions of the attack, which ExTrac’s sys­tems have been mon­i­tor­ing in real time since Fri­day, it shows that news of the New York stab­bing was enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly wel­comed by these audi­ences, whose reac­tions cen­tred around one of four core dis­cours­es — ratio­nal­i­sa­tion, rev­er­ence, rel­e­vance, and retal­i­a­tion — each of which is dis­cussed in detail below.

Read the full report here.

The report says that the reac­tions of pro-Iran­ian media and social media accounts cen­tered around ratio­nal­iza­tion, rev­er­ence, rel­e­vance, and retaliation:

  • Pro­po­nents of the ratio­nal­iza­tion nar­ra­tive have jus­ti­fied the attack as a “right­eous” act against an “apos­tate” who had “blas­phemed against Islam.”
  • Pro­po­nents of the rev­er­ence nar­ra­tive have praised the “hero­ism” of the attacker.
  • Pro­po­nents of the rel­e­vance nar­ra­tive high­light­ed the rel­e­vance of the doc­trine of Aya­tol­lah Ruhol­lah Khome­i­ni, the first leader of Iran’s “Islam­ic revolution.”
  • Pro­po­nents of the retal­i­a­tion nar­ra­tive framed the attack as a jus­ti­fied retal­i­a­tion against West­ern inter­ests (not “just” an attempt on Rushdie’s life)

The ExTrac report iden­ti­fied what it called the three most promi­nent Twit­ter influ­encers that post­ed the words “the apos­tate Salman Rushdie” in Ara­bic between 12 and 14 August. The report fur­ther said that two of these influ­encers are “explic­it­ly aligned with (and pos­si­bly oper­at­ed on behalf of) the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment, and the third is a key influ­encer for Lebanese Hizbullah.”

US media recent­ly report­ed that Iran­ian offi­cials denied Tehran was involved in the stab­bing of Rushdie but still jus­ti­fied the attack, say­ing they “don’t con­sid­er any­one deserv­ing reproach, blame or even con­dem­na­tion, except for (Rushdie) him­self and his sup­port­ers.” Rushdie has faced death threats for more than 30 years over his nov­el “The Satan­ic Vers­es,” whose depic­tion of the Prophet Muham­mad was seen by some Mus­lims as blas­phe­mous. The book and its author were the sub­jects of a Feb­ru­ary 1989  fat­wa call­ing for the death of Rushdie and his pub­lish­ers issued by Aya­tol­lah Ruhol­lah Khome­i­ni, then Supreme Leader of Iran



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