After Rushdie: Muslims, Freedom of Expression and the Politics of Controversy

Lead Research Organisation: Brunel University
Department Name: Sch of Arts

Abstract

The aim of this project is to examine recent Muslim-related controversies concerning the limits of freedom of expression and the right to religious liberty. It will do this in an original and innovative manner by developing a conceptual and critical methodology that seeks to move beyond the legalistic discourse of rights through which these controversies have hitherto been addressed. In so doing, the project will contribute to new ways of understanding how to negotiate cultural and religious antagonisms involving Muslims in multicultural societies.

The idea that the controversy over The Satanic Verses demonstrated how western liberal society is fundamentally at odds with 'Islam' has been further entrenched in the intervening twenty years, aided and abetted by major historical events such as September 11 2001, and the bombings in London in July 2005, which calcified a growing unease about Islam and Muslims within culturally diverse societies in the West. But a number of Muslim-related controversies concerning freedom of expression that have occurred since the Rushdie affair also crystallized this seemingly irresolvable stand-off between western liberalism and Islam: the murder of the Dutch film-maker, Theo van Gogh; the furore over the publication of cartoons in Denmark depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist; and the recent (non) publication of a romantic novel about one of the Prophet's wives, The Jewel of the Medina.

The difficult and sensitive terrain of conflicting rights is one of the key faultlines in any society, but especially so in culturally diverse societies consisting of many fundamental incommensurabilities in beliefs, ways of being and social practices. It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that the terms of debate during the Rushdie affair and in each of these subsequent controversies has been determined by the legalistic discourse of 'rights': the right to freedom of speech versus the right to religious liberty, which religious groups take to include the right not to have their most deeply held beliefs subject to mockery and abuse (articles 19 and 18, respectively of the UN Convention on Human Rights). The evidence of the Rushdie affair, and these successive controversies, is that a legalistic discourse of 'rights' derived from liberalism cannot successfully arbitrate conflicting positions within a culturally diverse society, in which at least one of the antagonists may not be articulating themselves from a liberal position. Far from resolving conflicts over freedom of expression, the discourse of rights leads to entrenchment and stalemate. For example, there has been a noticeable hardening of emphasis amongst many liberals in favour of freedom of speech as an absolute prerogative. For them, a secondary right to offend can be derived from the fundamental right to freedom of expression. This has predictably led to the invocation of an absolute right to be free from being offended by their Muslim opponents.

This project will attempt to move beyond the legalistic framework that has led to this impasse, in favour of proposing that the right to freedom of expression (which is non-negotiable) should be accompanied by an ethics of social responsibility that must be exercised by both 'authors' and 'readers'. This responsibility must be based on propriety, i.e. a responsibility to speak 'appropriately' and to interpret 'properly'. This necessitates a close examination of the 'texts' themselves (be they novels, cartoons or films), as well as the claims and counter-claims surrounding them. Only then can a judgment be made about the propriety of the behaviour of both those who created the works, and those who consumed them, those who provoked and those who were provoked.

Planned Impact

The following will benefit from the proposed research: media professionals and organizations; policy oriented organizations working in the field of intercultural relations, such as the British Council's cultural relations think-tank, Counterpoint, the Open Society Foundation (OSF), and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue; interfaith organizations working to develop better relations between religious communities, such as Building Bridges (specifically those in Lancashire, based in Pendle, and Nelson and Brierfield) and the Church of England; Muslim organizations, community leaders and activists, such as City Circle, the Islamic Society of Britain, Engage, and the Muslim Council of Britain; local councils, particularly community relations teams; school teachers and pupils; writers' and artists' organizations such as PEN and Index on Censorship; writers, artists and intellectuals engaging in inter-culturally sensitive work; publishers; Muslim and non-Muslim readers of literature and consumers of cultural products.

The specific impacts on the above beneficiaries all lead to the general benefit to society of better relations between different cultural and religious communities that have different concepts and traditions of interpretation. Specific benefits will include greater awareness by media professionals covering culturally sensitive topics of the ethical responsibility to engage with different traditions and criteria of analysis and interpretation amongst the participants in a controversy, and the understanding of wider issues concerning freedom of expression in culturally diverse societies; the development of greater understanding amongst Muslim organizations, activists and communities about how to approach Muslim-related controversies in a more productive, critically open, and dialogic manner; the enabling of better inter-faith dialogue and initiatives using the findings of this research to aid the work of inter-faith organizations, local councils and schools in developing better community relations; the raising of public discussion and awareness about issues concerning artistic responsibility and the limits of freedom of expression in culturally diverse societies, particularly amongst creative professionals and practitioners; and the engagement of general readers of literature and users of other cultural products with issues concerning the responsibility of cultural consumers in negotiating culturally difficult and sensitive texts. The ultimate impact of this research will be to contribute to the capacity of the stakeholders and wider public to develop productive cultural dialogues rather than conflicts. The research will thus impact on the social well-being of the nation and contribute to its quality of life by enabling users of the research to approach cultural faultlines in a multicultural society in a different and more productive manner than has hitherto been the case.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The two central questions for this project were: 'were the authors and artists who composed the texts that caused these controversies right to have done what they did?' and 'were those who protested against them right to have done so?' These are moral questions concerning the ethics of representation, on the one hand, and the ethics of reading on the other.



1. The ethics of propriety:



The project addressed these questions by establishing an 'ethics of propriety', which enables assessment and evaluation of the giving and taking of offence. Drawing on and extending the work of the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, and addressing the existing scholarship on ethics and literature, the ethics of propriety is defined as a 'minimal' ethics as opposed to the 'maximal' ethics espoused by Levinas and other advocates of postmodern ethics. Minimal ethics establishes a relative and conditional responsibility to the Other as opposed to the absolute and unconditional responsibility that, for Levinas, is the foundation of ethics itself. The latter is beyond judgment because it is unconditional; the former, because conditional, is open to judgment and evaluation. However, minimal ethics does not stand apart from maximal ethics; it is encompassed by and always in relation to the absolute responsibility demanded by maximal ethics, but it is determined by contingency, by the specific forces at play in any given ethical situation, which renders any such obligation to the Other conditional upon those forces. Moreover, unlike Levinas, the ethics of propriety establishes a shared responsibility that emerges at the moment of the encounter with the Other. This encounter is dialogic and institutes an infinitely recursive reciprocation between the writing/reading Self and that which it encounters (the object of representation/the representation itself).



2. Manner:



Because the ethics of propriety is contingent and situational, the question of 'manner' (which is something more than simply 'form' or 'style) is key to understanding and evaluating whether the writers and artists represented the Muslim 'Other' (in these instances) appropriately and whether those who responded to them did so 'properly'. There can be no overarching or general rules or procedures for determining ethical propriety since each act is singular and non-generalizable. In evaluating the work of representation, therefore, it is each specific act of representing that must be evaluated not only on its own terms (that is, absolutely and unconditionally) but also in terms of its relation to the Other, the 'object' that is represented. Is that Other represented in a manner appropriate to its (i.e. the other's) own properties (that is, absolutely and unconditionally) as well as in terms of the representing Subject's relation to it (e.g. a critical attitude)? Conversely, to ask whether those who respond to a controversial text do so 'properly' is to question whether they respond to the text's own properties as well as their (critical) relation to it.



3. Cultural difference:



The project also examined the effect of cultural difference on the proprieties of the relationship between artists and those who respond to their representations. The proprieties of any given encounter are established by norms, values and 'horizons of expectations' (Jauss) that are shared, usually unconsciously, by both parties. But what happens when these norms and expectations are not shared? Inter-cultural controversies such as the ones examined in this project arise precisely because those norms are not only discrepant but also contested; this is why the ethics of representing and responding to the other across cultural boundaries is fraught with risk and why such encounters fragment into mutually exclusive discourses that further polarize the controversy.



4. Offensiveness as political performance:



Moreover, if ethical propriety is conditional insofar as it is determined by the social forces at play within any given encounter, then the question of whether writers/artists and their readers/audience are behaving ethically towards each other is contingent upon the power relations between them. This project demonstrates that the ethics of propriety is inevitably and ineluctably political. In other words, what is at stake in such controversies is not only rival 'truth' claims but performances of power and resistance. Both the giving and taking of offence are performative speech-acts that do 'work' in the world by establishing a relation of power over or subordination to the offender/offendee. The ethical propriety of any given speech-act (such as a text) is therefore determined by the power relations underlying the act of representing/responding, as well as the power relations performed within the speech-act itself, at the level of representation.





The second part of the project consisted of readings of four texts deemed 'offensive' by many Muslims: Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses; the cartoons published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten; a short film by Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh and the social activist and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali; and a romantic bio-novel about one of the Prophet Muhammad's wives called The Jewel of the Medina by Sherry Jones. These readings attempted to evaluate the ethical proprieties of each text.



a. The Satanic Verses: the most difficult and complex of the four texts, it is the one least amenable to determinate judgments about its ethical performance. The reading considered two principal Muslim objections as stated during the 'Rushdie Affair': that the novel was a travesty of the history of early Islam; and that it reproduced orientalist stereotypes about Islam and Muslims, in particular by repeating medieval Christian slanders of the Prophet Muhammad. In relation to these, it was concluded that although Rushdie's postmodern techniques insulate him somewhat from accusations of misrepresentation, there is nevertheless an ironic parallelism between his interpretation of early Islam and those of his Islamist antagonists: both see Islam as inherently and essentially legalistic and proto-totalitarian. And, although Rushdie is making some serious points about power in his representation of the Prophet, the evidence of the novel suggests that it does adopt a western, secular, 'othering' optic towards the Prophet and Islam in general. The final part of the reading concludes that part of the novel's impropriety lies in the violation of its own ethical precepts in removing Islam from the 'ethic of impurity' - which it posits as the major principle of human development - thereby locking it in a 'backward' past; and in being unable to conceive of a hybrid Third Space between religious and secular sensibilities even though that is what the novel tries to represent.



b. Both the Danish cartoons and the film Submission are clearly more straightforward acts of provocation, and the questions that surround them revolve around whether there is anything within their representations that might redeem, ethically speaking, their violation and subordination of Muslim Others. Both claim to possess ethical value insofar as they put themselves forward as necessary critiques of Islam that might help Muslims reform themselves with regard to issues such as violence and gender, and as part of the healthy clash and conflict of ideas that sustains democracy, thus educating Muslims in the process and procedures of democratic debate. However, the textuality of each representation undermines such claims and each is shown to be a straightforward performance of cultural superiority and supremacism. Both texts concur with and endorse conservative and Islamist interpretations of Islam as the one 'true' interpretation, thereby undercutting the very possibility of reform that they claim to be encouraging.



c. The Jewel of the Medina, written by an American journalist, claims to be a feminist work written in support of Muslim women and Muslim feminists who have challenged the misogynistic and patriarchal interpretations of male Islamic scholars and jurists. Of the four texts examined, it is the most explicitly sympathetic to Islam, Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad. In one sense, then, it is the least improper. Nevertheless, the manner in which the novel goes about this endeavour forecloses such an undertaking and aligns it with the appropriation of the Muslim woman (embodied in its heroine, Aisha bint Abi Bakr, wife of the Prophet, who narrates 'her' story in the first person) and her voice that is found in the neo-colonialism evident in much contemporary western feminism justifying the 'liberation' of Muslim women either through war or the prohibition of certain forms of dress. Inadvertently, the novel presumes to speak for the Other woman rather than to them. Moreover, it claims to be addressing Muslim women when, in fact, its generic features make it apparent that its primary readership is, in fact, western women seeking an 'exotic' and romantic representation of the Other.



The final part of the project considered the exceptionalization of religion in contemporary debates in the UK about legislation curbing freedom of speech in relation to the incitement to hatred. Examining the discourse surrounding the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, it concludes that this emerges from a conception of religion that is based principally on 'belief' (epistemology) as opposed to experience (ontology). This is what necessitates the removal of religious identities from legal protection against incitement to hatred, because in so doing it would protect religious beliefs from legitimate criticism. However, this line of reasoning completely dismisses 'manner' as a legitimate reason for distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate speech acts. It thus undermines the very possibility of ethical (im)propriety by removing the moral agency that would be displayed by the (in)judicious expression of language. Not all transgressions of propriety are ethically unwarranted; some forms of offensiveness may indeed be ethical: it all depends on the manner and purpose of each specific act, and the power relations determining it. This would suggest that the ethics of propriety is also an ethics of impropriety; and that both rest, in turn, on an 'ethic of care'. If one is to behave improperly - i.e. transgress the established parameters of propriety - then one should take the trouble to establish why, and to what purpose such a transgression is warranted.
Exploitation Route The research could benefit artists and writers by encouraging reflection on what is at stake in their practice when they attempt to represent 'other' cultures. Are they taking the appropriate care to achieve what they really want to achieve? Is it necessary to say what needs to be said in a particular way, or could it be said in another way that might actually be more effective in engendering cross-cultural dialogue? What is their purpose in representing others? And would self-restraint be a better way to get one's point across? Reflecting on the ethics of representation is a crucial part of artistic practice.



The research could also be used in educational contexts to help readers reflect on and consider how they respond to controversial texts that trouble them. It might be particularly useful in the context of secondary education, when young readers are being trained to read texts from other cultures with a critical eye. Local councils, communities and schools could benefit from the research by finding ways to stimulate non-confrontational approaches to controversial ideas and texts.



Third sector and religious organisations working in the area of intercultural and community relations and inter-faith dialogue could benefit from this research by using its ideas in relation to their own practices, and considering whether the principles outlined in the research could be usefully exploited towards the delivery of greater inter-cultural understanding, dialogue and the reduction of cultural conflict and misunderstanding.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Other

 
Description The award had a single proposed output, a monograph, which is due to be published on 3 November 2014. The dissemination and impact strategy has been limited by this, and it is anticipated that any impacts arising will largely take place after the 2014 submission period, including a major event discussing the research on 12 January 2015, to which stakeholders identified in the proposal, including policy makers and Muslim and non-Muslim third sector cultural relations organizations and representatives will be invited. In the course of discussions with partners and stakeholders identified in the impact strategy about how to implement it, it became apparent that the research could not be used easily by those mentioned in the proposal - especially the resource pack for schools - without further 'translation' of the primary research undertaken by the project into more 'usable' research. This has thrown up a set of questions that need further research and will form the basis of another proposed project.
 
Description Ethical responsiveness across cultural difference 
Organisation University of Wollongong
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution As a result of my AHRC sponsored work on free speech, I have received a visiting international fellowship at the University of Wollongong to work with Australian Research Council Future Fellow Dr Tanja Dreher to explore the ethics of responding to others across cultural differences and how this may re-orient thinking about multicultural politics and democratic participation. A colloquium on ethical responsiveness, to which I am making a keynote contribution, and a roundtable on hate speech, as well as a public lecture will be direct outcomes of this collaboration during my visit to Wollongong, and a future outcome will be an edited volume of essays from the colloquium and an international research network.
Collaborator Contribution My collaborator has organized the colloquium, attracting some of the leading researchers in Australia who work on this topic, as well as the roundtable and public lecture. She will work with me on the edited volume of essays and we will both seek funding to establish the research network.
Impact Interdisciplinary colloquium: 'Ethical responsiveness: listening and reading across difference' 18 March 2016, University of Wollongong Roundtable event: 'Free Speech and religious freedom after Charlie Hebdo and Section 18C', Legal Intersections Research Centre, University of Wollongong, 7 April 2016 Legal Intersections Research Centre Public lecture, 'Freedom of religion and freedom of expression in contemporary multiculture', University of Wollongong, 7 april 2016
Start Year 2015
 
Description Appearance on BBC Radio 4's The Moral Maze 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I appeared as an expert witness on the Moral Maze show about moral leadership within Britain's Muslim communities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b051s4rg
 
Description Appearance on al-Jazeera 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I spoke about false binary oppositions as an expert commentator for Al-Jazeera's 'The Listening Post' weekly round-up of news stories, focusing on false binaries in relation to immigration and free speech. The aim was to stimulate thinking about how these binaries frame news stories and thus shape and limit opinion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://twitter.com/ajlisteningpost/status/657557592978403328
 
Description Appearance on al-Jazeera satellite tv station 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I appeared on the Al-Jazeera media documentary show as expert commentator on the Charlie Hebdo murders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2015/01/return-charlie-hebdo-2015117104730260562.h...
 
Description Article for Middle East Monitor 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I wrote an article reflecting on the Charlie Hebdo murders and the terrorist attacks in Paris and how 'civilizational politics' threatens freedom. The aim was to question the current political rhetoric surrounding Muslims, war on terror and freedom.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/guest-writers/23133-civilisational-politics-threatens-eve...
 
Description Article for The Conversation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I wrote an article criticising the latest free speech controversy created by the magazine Charlie Hebdo in order to get people to think about the moral responsibilities of free speech. The article has attracted 28, 589 readers across the world so far, has been re-published in several countries and re-tweeted 111 times and with 32 'likes' on Facebook.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://theconversation.com/charlie-hebdo-reinforces-the-very-racism-it-is-trying-to-satirise-53263
 
Description Article for The Conversation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I wrote an article entitled 'Who is censoring who when artists dismiss their critics?' for the international online platform The Conversation following the publication of my book Islam and Controversy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://theconversation.com/who-is-censoring-who-when-artists-dismiss-their-critics-34093
 
Description Comment and analysis article on free speech for politics.co.uk website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This article appeared on one of the major politics-related UK websites in order to disseminate the research, and to stimulate debate and thought about one of its key findings.

It is not yet possible to tell if it has had any specific impact.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2014/10/29/comment-embrace-censorship-it-protects-the-vul...
 
Description Coverage of launch event by Times Higher Education 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Times Higher Education covered the launch of my book Islam and Controversy as a news item and feature report.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/will-self-freedom-of-speech-a-fetish-in-wake-of-paris-atta...
 
Description Debate on free speech at Cheltenham literary festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I took part in a debate entitled 'Free Speech: No Limits?' at the Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literary Festival. The debate was in the main town hall stage and was entirely sold out (1000+). My co-panellists were the journalist and commentator David Aaronovitch, the editor Mick Hume and the Chair of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti. The audience involvement was very lively and stimulating and several approached me afterwards stating that they had been prompted to re-think some of their assumptions. A few bought my book afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Debate on free speech at Queen Mary University Debating society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Debate on whether there is a right to offend - other panellists included Peter Tatchell, Kenan Malik, and Brian Klug.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Debate on free speech at Wilderness festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I took part in a debate on free speech after Charlie Hebdo sponsored by PEN International. Other panellists included the writer Kenan Malik and it was chaired by the journalist Zoe Williams (The Guardian). There was lively audience participation and debate afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Debate on free speech at the Battle of Ideas 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Free speech debate for a satellite event at the Battle of Ideas festival.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Freedom of speech debate for Society of Asian Lawyers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I took part in a debate on freedom of speech for Society of Asian Lawyers. Other panellists included well-known barrister David Wolfe QC and audience included lawyers, barristers and some judges. As might be expected, the audience involvement was highly sophisticated and some, including the judge, commented favourably on my argument.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Interview feature with Times Higher Education 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Following the launch of my book, Islam and Controversy, Times Higher Education ran a feature story based on an interview with me about the issues raised by the book.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/debating-islamic-extremism-is-this-the-best-we-can-do/2018...
 
Description Jewish Museum Berlin 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I delivered a public lecture which spoke to the title of 'How Much Criticism Can/Should Judaism and Islam Tolerate', which was delivered as part of the Jewish and Islamic Perspectives on Human Rights, Jewish Museum Berlin, 12 April
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.jmberlin.de/en/lecture-series-human-rights-criticism-judaism-islam/
 
Description Live interview with Monocle 24 radio 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The interview took place during Monocle 24 radio's 'drivetime' programme 'Midori House' on Tuersday 28 October at 18:40. The programme is broadcast via the internet across the world. The discussion about the book disseminated key findings and arguments that emerged from the research to a large, international audience (c. 25 million downloads last year).

The research has been disseminated across a global audience, but it is not possible to tell from this if there has been any specific impact.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://monocle.com/radio/
 
Description Panel debate at Leicester Comedy Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I spoke on a panel debate at the Leicester Comedy Festival on the topic of free speech, comedy and religious offcence. The debate was entitled 'Say What You Like: Comedy, Religion, Offence' and it was delivered to a general public audience. It was covered by the online comedy news magazine chortle.co.uk
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2017/02/19/26907/id_want_all_racist_jokes_stopped
 
Description Public launch event of Islam and Controversy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The launch event for my book Islam and Controversy was a public, ticketed event (through Eventbrite) on 12 January at SOAS London that sold out and attracted media interest from Times Higher Education and other outlets. An interview for THE followed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description The Conversation article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An article entitled "Racist jokes return - but 'freedom of speech' punchline falls flat" in response to controversy surrounding a joke about Muslim women by a prominent politician, intended to contribute to public debate about the limits of free speech.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://theconversation.com/racist-jokes-return-but-freedom-of-speech-punchline-falls-flat-101613