Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

The Satanic Verses Controversy

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In 1988, controversy arose over the publication of award-winning author Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses, which contained content that many Muslims around the world found defamatory toward their faith. A fatwa issued the following year by the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, exhorted Muslims to kill Rushdie in retaliation for his book, leading the author to live in hiding for years, triggering violent attacks on others involved in the novel's publication, and sparking a lasting debate on freedom of speech versus respect for religious and cultural sensitivities.
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