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

Twenty years after the Fatwa against Salman Rushdie, what is the legacy of the most famous free speech controversy of modern times?

In 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?

The discussion will begin with introductory speeches from:

Kenan Malik, writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Department of Political, International and Policy Studies at the University of Surrey. His forthcoming book From Fatwa to Jihad: the Salman Rushdie affair and its legacy will be published in February 2009.

Tariq Modood MBE, Professor of Sociology, Bristol University - Director, University Research Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship. He is the editor (with G.B Levey) of the forthcoming Secularism, Religion and Multicultural Citizenship, to be published by Cambridge University Press.

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

Respondents include:

Stephen Law, Provost, Centre for Inquiry London
Amol Rajan, reporter at the Independent
Jo Glanville, editor, Index on Censorship

This debate is presented by Institute of Ideas and Bishopsgate Institute, in association with Index on Censorship.


. Claire Fox | talks | www
Kenan Malik | talks | www
Amol Rajan | talks
Dr Stephen Law | talks | www
Jo Glenville | talks
Professor Tariq Modood | talks


Date and Time:

12 February 2009 at 7:00 pm


2 hours



Institute of Ideas
Signet House
49-51 Farrington Road
+44 20 72 69 92 30

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£7 (£5)

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020 7392 9220 between 9.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

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