Salman Rushdie is not Michelle Bolsonaro. By Luis Felipe Miguel

Salman Rushdie

By Luis Felipe Miguel

The fatwa launched against Salman Rushdie in 1989 symbolized the beginning of a new era of religious intolerance.

At the time, there was no shortage of those in the British parliament who preached a ban on romance, which caused the ire of Ayatollah Khomeini.

The defense of freedom of expression was receding. At the time, mainly out of cowardice.

Then came other justifications, some allegedly “progressive”, like those of everyone who, decades later, would blame the Charles Hebdo comedians for the attack they suffered.

I have no doubt that the right to blasphemy – against any god, of any religion – is one of the greatest achievements of our civilization.

And it is very different from religious intolerance or incitement to hatred. It is the right not to believe and to publicly manifest your disbelief.

(Drawing what I mean: Salman Rushdie is not Michelle Bolsonaro. In fact, they are antipodes.)

The British writer has led a dog’s life since the fatwa, living in hiding, always in fear. Rightly so, as today’s brutal attack proves.

I pray you resist. As I hope, but then with much less hope, that religious fanaticism will be banished from the world.

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