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From Fatwa and Book-Burning to Jihad and Hate Laws: Twenty Years of Free-Speech Wars

7:00pm, Thursday 12 February 2009, Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QH

n February 1989, five months after the publication of The Satanic Verses, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against its author Salman Rushdie. It is often seen as a pivotal moment in shaping the landscape of contemporary Western society. So, twenty years on, what is the legacy of the most famous free speech controversy of modern times?


Two speakers will give lectures exploring the impact of the Rushdie affair on our perceptions of free speech, multiculturalism and Islam:
Kenan Malik, author, From Fatwa to Jihad: the Salman Rushdie affair and its legacy (Atlantic Books: 2009)
Tariq Modood MBE, professor of sociology, Bristol University; director, University Research Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship

Claire Fox will then chair a panel debating the issues and the audience will also have their say in what promises to be a lively discussion.

Respondents include:

Jo Glanville, editor, Index on Censorship
Stephen Law, Provost, Centre for Inquiry London
Amol Rajan, reporter at the Independent
Maheila Malik, Reader in Law at King’s College London
Inayat Bunglawala, advisor on Policy and Research at ENGAGE, an initiative designed to encourage British Muslims to interact more effectively in politics and the media

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