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30 years on from the Rusdie fatwa, freedom of speech remains under threat

30 years on from the Rusdie fatwa, freedom of speech remains under threat

Country: 
United Kingdom (UK)
News Date: 
16/02/2019
Lancastrian
Summary: 

Thirty years ago this week, Ayatollah Khomeini put a fatwa on the head of Salman Rushdie.. At least 22 people were killed; Rushdie went into hiding. Britain suddenly had to confront some unsettling truths. Muslim protesters who burned Mr Rushdie’s book had clearly not integrated into Britain’s tradition of free speech and religious inquiry; multiculturalism had accentuated difference and segregated communities.

Dialogue is necessary for progress and scrutiny. A terror of being accused of racism was one of the reasons why child grooming continued in Rotherham for so long. There is too much anxiety around criticising beliefs, articulating old‑fashioned values or even raising common-sense objections to ideas that happen to enjoy the state’s protection. This week, lawyers on behalf of the Government concluded that “mother” is no longer a gender specific term, after a man, who was born a woman, became pregnant. Meanwhile, feminists and academics who question transgenderism have found their lives affected, or even encountered the police.