He, too, saw that the attack on The Satanic Verses was not an isolated occurrence; that, across the Muslim world, writers and journalists and artists were being accused of the same crimes - blasphemy, heresy, apostasy, and their modern-day associates, “insult” and “offence.” And he intuited that beyond this intellectual assault lay the possibility of an attack on a broader front. He quoted Heine to me. Where they burn books they will afterwards burn people. (And reminded me, with his profound sense of irony, that Heine’s line, in his play Almansor, had referred to the burning of the Qur’an.) And on September 11, 2001, he, and all of us, understood that what began with a book-burning in Bradford, Yorkshire, had now burst upon the whole world’s consciousness in the form of those tragically burning buildings.
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