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Liberalism and its limits

Ten years after the publication of The Satanic Verses, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown considers how it forced Muslims in the west, as well as the white liberal intelligentsia, to confront the limits of freedom of speech and multiculturalism

Let me say at once that, like all the Muslims I know, I do not support the fatwah on Salman Rushdie. This does not mean, however, that I believe that he was right to publish The Satanic Verses. Of course, he had the right to publish, but was he right to do so?

For us Muslims, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Rushdie affair: 1988 was the year The Satanic Verses was published in this country. For liberals, the anniversary dates from January 1989, when the book was burnt in Bradford, followed by Ayatollah Khomeini imposing a fatwah…

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