Indian-origin author admitted to mental hospital in S Africa for allegedly ‘praising’ Salman Rushdie’s work

Johannesberg(PTI): An Indian-origin author in South Africa, who was brutally assaulted after she allegedly praised controversial writer Salman Rushdie and was subjected to harassment, has been admitted to a mental hospital in Johannesburg.

Zainub Priya Dala was hit in the face with a brick and a knife put to her throat last month after she praised Rushdie’s writing at a literary event in a school in Durban, a city on the country’s east coast.
She had said that she liked the styles of Rushdie – whose work has angered Muslims around the world – and Indian author Arundhati Roy, which led to a number of teachers and students attending the workshop walking out in protest.

Local media have been unable to reach Dala to corroborate a statement widely distributed by PEN American Centre, the US branch of the world’s leading international literary and human rights organisation, that “expressed outrage at the harassment and confinement” of Dala in a mental institution.

Initially, Dala told media she was recovering at home from the incident, but now PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel, who was visiting South Africa and had contact with Dala, has claimed that the continued harassment has led to the writer being admitted to a mental institution.

“Regrettably, rather than rallying around Dala, some members of the local Muslim community in Durban, South Africa, have ostracised Dala, putting her under extreme pressure to renounce her statement about Rushdie’s work, to repent for her “sins,” and to make a public vow of religious loyalty to Islam,” Nossel said on Saturday.

“When she continued to refuse to make a religious vow or other statements inconsistent with her personal beliefs she was admitted to a mental institution,” she said.

A psychologist by profession and a mother of a young child, Dala ultimately consented to go to the hospital “to avoid intense and intrusive harassment at her home”, the statement said, adding she was continued questioning about her beliefs by hospital staff.

However, Dala herself in a series of tweets contradicted reports that she admired the style of Rushdie – whose work has angered Muslims around the world – in the first place.

“After being harrassed by a journo about ‘The Satanic Verses’ I admitted it befuddled me. He reported that I expressed admiration for it!” she said in her latest tweet.

She, however, confirmed that she was admitted to a mental hospital.

“I am admitted to St.Joseph’s Psychiatric Wing, it was diagnosed that I have PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). No, I was not dragged kicking and screaming here,” she said.

She said she spoke to a religious leader as she was in “turmoil” and his views were that she be admitted here so I can “reflect on my religion and imaan” following which she reluctantly came in for admission.

Posted by on April 12, 2015. Filed under World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.