The Legacy of The Satanic Verses
"What we are talking about here is not a system of formal censorship, under which the state bans works deemed offensive. Rather, what has developed is a culture of self-censorship in which the giving of offence has come to be seen as morally unacceptable. In the 20 years since the publication of The Satanic Verses the fatwa has effectively become internalised...
"In a plural society it is both inevitable and important that people offend others. Inevitable, because where different beliefs are deeply held, clashes are unavoidable. And we should deal with those clashes in the open rather than suppress them. Important because any kind of social progress requires one to offend some deeply held sensibilities. "If liberty means anything," as George Orwell once put it, "it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." If we want the pleasures of pluralism, we have to put up with the pain of being offended."
Kenan Malik in The Guardian. Bravo.