In 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran ordered a fatwa against Salman Rushdie and called out to Muslims all over the world to kill Salman Rushdie and they accused him of blasphemy. The Iranian government also backed the fatwa. The main reason for this fatwa was the publication of ‘Satanic Verses’, Rushdie’s book that was blamed to disparage the honor of Prophet Mohammad.
On the other hand the famous Bangladeshi physician and writer, Taslima Nasreen has been living in exile since 1994 for her various writings that criticized Islam. In her book ‘Lajja’ published in 1993, she was accused of writing against Islamic philosophy, insulting and demeaning it. This subsequently lead to a ban of her book and her life threat due to which she had to flee Bangladesh and she remains away from her home country till today.
Apart from these, there are many authors who have faced the ban on their books. In fact, many of the famous authors of yesteryears have faced controversy and ban on books, for instance like Gustave Flaubert was accused of going against public decency in his book ‘Madame Bovary’ (1856). Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’ (1970) was ranked as America’s second most banned book due to its alleged pornographic content and indecent language.
As this restriction hinders the freedom of speech and expression, once again, I remember the golden words quoted by Rushdie following the ban, “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”