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From Fatwa and book burning to Jihad and hate laws: Twenty years of 'free speech wars'

What is the legacy of the infamous fatwa against Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses?

In February 1989, five months after the publication of The Satanic Verses, Ayotollah 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. Panellists include Stephen Law (Provost, Centre for Inquiry London), Amol Rajan (The Independent) and Jo Glenville (Editor, Index on Censorship).

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


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


Date and Time:

12 February 2009 at 7:00 pm


2 hours



Bishopsgate Institute
230 Bishopsgate
020 7392 9200

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£7, conc. £5

Available from:

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

Additional Information:

Bishopsgate Institute is two minutes walk from Liverpool Street station.

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