JOHN DERBYSHIRE: American-Born Muslim Stabbing Rushdie Reveals Threat Of Absimilation—Assimilation In Reverse
Print Friendly and PDF

[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

Earlier (2017) by John Derbyshire: Absimilation On Westminster Bridge: The Japanese Were Right. The British Were Wrong.

Some  thoughts on a headline from the week’s news.

The news headline I want to pass comment on is the assault on author Salman Rushdie in Chautauqua, New York last Friday.

The assailant was a 24-year-old American native of Arab parentage named Hadi Matar. We’re told that Matar’s parents came here from South Lebanon, so it’s a fair bet they are Shi’ite Muslims, with fond affection for the clerical Shi’ite government of Iran.

That government it was that, in 1989, issued a fatwa—a sentence of death in absentia—against Salman Rushdie for having written unflattering things about the prophet Mohammed in his novel The Satanic Verses.

Iranian leaders have backed off some from the official fatwa but there is still a price on Rushdie’s head from various Muslim-fundamentalist organizations—three million dollars from one of them.

Well, this American-born son of Arab parents, now 24 years old, attacked Rushdie last Friday at a public event in Chautauqua [Salman Rushdie is attacked onstage in Western New York, NYT, August 12, 2022].

He attacked with a knife, stabbing Rushdie several times, causing severe injuries. Last I’ve heard, the 75-year-old Rushdie is off the ventilator, on the mend, and in good spirits, although he’s probably going to lose an eye.

A couple of interesting points here.

First point. As my colleague Eugene Gant noted at on Monday, the perp here, Hadi Matar, is an instance of absimilation.

I’ve been trying to get this word into general circulation since I coined it in my spacetime-sundering bestseller We Are Doomed back in 2009. Hope springs eternal, so here I am trying again.

Quote from Chapter Ten of We Are Doomed:

The English word ”assimilation” derives from the Latin prefix ad-, which indicates a moving towards something, and the same language’s verb simulare, ”to cause a person or thing to resemble another.” You can make a precisely opposite word using the prefix ab-, which marks a moving away from something. Many immigrants of course assimilate to American society. I think I have. I hope I have; I’ve tried to. Many others, however, especially in the second and following generations, absimilate. 

Second point: a thought-provoking opinion column in Tuesday’s New York Post by a chap named Jonathan Schanzer [Tweet him].

The byline says he is senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. I am vaguely aware of that foundation as a hardcore neocon outfit, and this column of Schanzer’s has some neocon coloring, but it makes an interesting point none the less.

Here’s the point. The Soviet Union went in to Afghanistan at the end of 1979 with the idea to impose a government and social system there more to their liking. After ten years grinding away, they gave up and pulled out in May 1989.

Schanzer argues, with supporting evidence, that the Soviet failure gave a huge morale boost to Islamic fundamentalism all over: Sudan, Tunisia, Jordan, Palestine, Pakistan, and the Muslim diaspora in Europe and the U.S.A. He then asks

Could the President Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan last year create a similar domino effect? Could the propaganda victory the Taliban achieved in 2021 encourage Islamic extremism in other nations just like it did 32 years ago? 
[A victorious Taliban is inspiring a new generation of Islamic extremists, August 15, 2022]

Schanzer thinks it could.

He offers some reasons for thinking so, one of them being this assault on Salman Rushdie.

I’m not a fan of neoconnery in general, but this guy may have a point.

I think I had a point, too, when I said the following thing back in 2016:

The most astonishing statistic of our age—astonishing and, to me and many others, baffling and infuriating—is that our country has admitted more Muslims for settlement in the fifteen years since 2001 than we did in the fifteen years prior

I suppose it makes sense to somebody, but it sure makes none to me.

And then I read that the number of illegals arrested at our southern border is on course to exceed two million for this fiscal year, the most ever. That’s just the number arrested, mind. Who knows how many have snuck in un-arrested?

I read; I reflect; I wonder.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.

Print Friendly and PDF