‘We are all Ayatollahs now’

What is extraordinary 30 years after this allegedly blasphemous book first appeared, and close to 30 years after Khomeini issued his medieval decree, is that Khomeini has won. He is the moral victor in this despicable affair. His backward outlook carries more weight these days than the decent liberalism of secular intellectuals and literary figures like Rushdie.

No, the Ayatollah’s foul call for the murder of Rushdie was not successful, and we must all remain grateful for that. But his belief that certain words and thoughts are unacceptable, unutterable, unbearable, and that anyone who holds them must be punished, is now the dominant outlook of our times. And not only in the Islamic Republic of Iran but here in Britain too, and across much of the West.

~ Bredan O’Neill, We are all Ayatollahs now (Spiked Online)

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