CRF Blog

25 years after the Salman Rushdie fatwa, how is free expression faring?

by Bill Hayes

In 25 years after the Salman Rushdie fatwa, how is free expression faring? for the Los Angeles Times, Timothy Garton Ash looks back at 1989 and compares it to today.

Intimidation is by no means a Muslim monopoly. In Rushdie’s native India, Hindu extremists are the tops at taking offense. The publisher Penguin India recently withdrew American scholar Wendy Doniger’s alternative history of the Hindus, under pressure from a Hindu protest group. The situation seems likely to get worse if Narendra Modi wins India’s still-unfolding parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, across the border in Burma, it is people who describe themselves as Buddhists who have been lynching Muslim Rohingya.

In China, the post-1989 system has produced what will soon be the world’s largest economy and what is already its largest censorship apparatus. [more]

For a free, related classroom lesson, see Blasphemy! Salman Rushdie and Freedom of Expression from our Bill of Rights in Action Archive.