Female Muslim Author beaten, sent to Mental Hospital after praising Rushdie

Zainub Priya Dala, a South African Muslim author and psychologist, was “violently attacked for expressing admiration for Salman Rushdie” the day after praising the author. After countless phoned-in threats to recant, Dala was placed under psychiatric care in which she was “drugged until I could not walk” and advised to adopt a proper Muslim lifestyle.


Dala recently published her first novel, What About Meera. Last month, at a literary festival in Durban, she said she “admired the writing of Arundhati Roy and Rushdie.”

Three days later, three men forced her car off the road, held a knife to her throat, banged her face with a brick and broke her cheekbone. They called her “Rushdie’s bitch.” Had a taxi not passed by, she is sure she “would’ve been stabbed.”


Immediately thereafter, Dala was placed under intense pressure. The Muslim community, her father, and her husband have all demanded that she “recant, repent, and say prayers.” Her phone rang repeatedly late at night.

And then things got worse. In classic Soviet style, Dala was admitted to a psychiatric facility in Durban. Initially, genuinely stressed, she consented to this admission; soon enough, she understood that her treatment (or punishment) would consist of learning how to become “a good Muslim woman, stay covered and silent.”

Dala tweeted from the institution that she was “not dragged kicking and screaming here,” but that “a religious leader” suggested she should be interned at a mental institution to “reflect on my religion.”

Dala was drugged so much that she could barely walk. She said that she had been “broken down into submission.” She was harangued to renounce her admiration of Rushdie’s works. She says: “I could just as easily burn my Oscar Wilde collection because some homophobes came calling.”

Many of us have compared Islam or Islamic totalitarianism with its Soviet and Chinese counterparts. What the Muslim community of Durban and the doctors at St Joseph’s 

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