It is if these events don't exist outside of your imagination. Interesting how you skip the entries in the Wikipedia source that you just gave, which precede any recognition (such as the banning in India, and receipt of significant numbers of death threats by Rushdie). And that you premise the whole response on the Whitbread award (an obscure thing that nobody pays the slightest attention to) as somehow emblematic of Western views on Rushdie. I would bet money that you had never heard of the Whitbread award until you went looking on Wikipedia for awards he recieved at early dates. I know I hadn't. And yet, this is supposed to be what set off the whole thing? You mean, besides the explicit, public claims of responsibility, complete with motivation? And the lack of any other obvious reason for them? That being for the newspaper attack, of course. The Berkeley attacks are less cut-and-dried but, really, it seems pretty far-fetched for a coincidence. It's not like those bookstores have been attacked before, or since. No, it is because when you talk about "the Western World," your statements apply to every member of that category. If you want to talk about the UK only, just use the term "the UK." That's what it's for. When you make a point of using a more general category, reasonable people assume that you mean your comments to hold more generally. More to reality, however: this is a really lame way to try to save face while backing down. A simple "wow, didn't realize that not all of the Western World is like the small island I'm familiar with" would have been a better ploy, than trying to present me as somehow obtuse for not deducing that your comments about "the West" should read as applying only to a tiny corner of it.