NEW YORK – The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has issued the following statement in response to today’s horrific attack on Salman Rushdie, a courageous defender of free speech. The NCAC is an alliance of 59 national nonprofit organizations committed to nonpartisan advocacy of free speech.
“Today’s horrific attack on author Salman Rushdie during a public lecture at the Chautauqua Institution is deeply disturbing. Although the motive for the attack remains unknown, it inevitably raises the suspicion that it was an attempt to punish Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses, which Ayatollah Khomeini condemned as blasphemy of the Muslim religion. in 1989. Khomeini issued a fatwa that called on Muslims to kill Rushdie, who was forced into hiding. He spent nearly a decade under police protection.
“Mr. Rushdie has been a courageous defender of free speech throughout his career, determined not to be silenced by fear and to encourage others to speak up. A recognized writers’ protection advocate, Mr. Rushdie is founding president of the International Parliament of Writers (which has since become the International Network of Cities of Refuge), which provides resources and shelter to artists and writers at risk of persecution.At the time of the attack, Mr. Rushdie was participating in a public debate on the role of the United States as a refuge for artists and writers in exile.
“Mr. Rushdie’s famous refrain, ‘What is freedom of speech? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist. underscores key democratic principles – the right to spread ideas and to access to it, the right to public debate and, above all, the right to disagree – whether with other civilians, institutions or governments.
“We hope for his speedy recovery.”
About the National Coalition Against Censorship
Since its inception in 1974, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has been a first responder in the protection of freedom of expression, a fundamental human right and a cornerstone of democracy. Representing 59 trusted organizations in education, publishing and the arts, the NCAC encourages and facilitates dialogue between diverse voices and perspectives, including those that have historically been silenced.