In a highly publicized event, on Christmas Eve 1990, Rushdie, at a meeting with six Muslim scholars, re-embraced Islam. The general attitude towards this can be summed up in the words Rashid Khalifa tells Prince Bolo, in answer as to why he, unarmed, dressed in a nightshirt and half-dead with cold, did not try to rescue Princess Batcheat from the Chupwalas: ‘some people prefer good sense to heroism’ (p. 104). Soon after, Rushdie said that he ‘felt a good deal safer’ and also added: ‘What I know of Islam is that tolerance, compassion and love are at its very heart.’
This is very true of the Sufi view. There is a danger of homogenizing Western and Muslim points of view; setting up crude binaries, the West versus Islam; and constructing a monolithic Muslim identity. But the fact remains that there are two broad points of view discernible, the Western liberal (complete freedom of expression) and the devout Islamic, and their continuing conflict can be explained in terms of Lyotard’s differend:
As distinguished from litigation, a differend would be a case of conflict, between (at least) two parties, that cannot be equitably resolved for lack of a rule of judgment applicable to both arguments. One side’s legitimacy does not imply the other’s lack of legitimacy. However, applying a single rule of judgment to both in order to settle their differend as though it were merely a litigation would wrong (at least) one of them (and both of them if neither side admits this rule).