An Essential Read: Silencing Speech Through Violence


Salman Rushdie learned a lesson. To wit: giving in to the whims of Fanatics never satisfies them:

A year into his ordeal, hoping to make the fatwa go away, Rushdie was persuaded to issue a kind of limited apology. After Iran’s President Ali Khamenei suggested that if Rushdie “apologizes and disowns the book, people may forgive him,” the author issued a statement saying:

“I recognize that Muslims in many parts of the world are genuinely distressed by the publication of my novel. I profoundly regret the distress the publication has occasioned to the sincere followers of Islam. Living as we do in a world of many faiths, this experience has served to remind us that we must all be conscious of the sensibilities of others.”

This was not enough. Nothing changed. Iran’s highest religious authorities declared, “Even if Salman Rushdie repents and becomes the most pious man of all time, it is incumbent on every Muslim to employ everything he has got, his life and wealth, to send him to Hell.”

Rushdie later said issuing the “apology” was the greatest mistake of his life.

Remember that.


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