"Das war Vorspiel nur. Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen.”
(That was mere foreplay. Where they have burned books they will end in burning human beings). Heinrich Heine, Almansor, 1821.
Today at 2pm on BBC Radio 7 Mike Wooldridge meets some of the British Muslims who took part in the protests against Salman Rushdie twenty odd years ago. If this is a repeat of the Radio 4 programme that covered this same subject matter on 9 February 2009, it contains truly fascinating interviews from those activists who were later to enter the political mainstream such as Inayat Bunglawala through to those who would go on to fight jihad abroad in places such as the Yemen.
Of all the 'isms' in the UK, British Islamism has perhaps the most divisive of origins - the campaign against 'The Satanic Verses', Indeed before this campaign it was far more common to hear talk generically of 'the Asian community' or even the wider black community, than any concept of a Muslim 'community'. If one conclusion can be taken from the range of views aired in the Book Burners, it is that after the Rushdie affair, nothing was ever quite the same again.