Thursday 7 October, 7.30pm until 9.00pm, Belfast Exposed, 23 Donegall Street, Belfast, Antrim BT1 2FF Satellite Events 2010
Venue: Belfast Exposed, 23 Donegall Street, Belfast, Antrim BT1 2FF
In 1989, a thousand Muslim protesters paraded through Bradford with a copy of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, before ceremonially burning the book, an act calculated to shock, offend and to dramatise Muslim anger and offence. A generation later, with controversies like those over Behzti or the Mohammed cartoons, and bans in Europe on the wearing of the burqa, questions raised by the Rushdie Affair still provoke controversy. Does equality mean respect for difference or the right to be treated the same despite our differences? Does the right to free expression become problematic when criticism of religious and cultural traditions appears to support, even perpetuate negative stereotypes in society at large? Is individual freedom a specifically Western concept, not applicable to a multicultural society, in which case can we even speak of universal rights and freedoms? If not, on what terms can we defend free speech at home and abroad?
The Belfast Salon hosts a conversation around censorship, self censorship and the limits of tolerance and freedom.
visual artist; comedian; writer; broadcaster
senior lecturer, sociology, University of the West of Scotland; reviews editor, Ethnopolitics
news editor, Index on Censorship; regular contributor, Guardian‘s Comment is Free
director, Belfast Exposed, gallery of contemporary photography and photography resource; convenor, Belfast Salon