Salman Rushdie: “I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire”

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Salman Rushdie, who had to go into hiding after his novel The Satanic Verses prompted a fatwa to be issued on his head, has issued a statement after the horrifying terrorist attack on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo:

Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.

At least 12 people were killed in the attack. The Charlie Hebdo website features a single image:

Charlie Hebdo

h/t Buzzfeed Books

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