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Salman Rushdie: "The Moment You Limit Free Speech, It Is Not Free Speech"

Author Salman Rushdie, who lived for years under a death threat after his 1988 book "The Satanic Verses" drew the wrath of Iranian religious leaders, is defending the absolute right of free speech and the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Rushdie was speaking at the University of Vermont in Burlington.

SALMAN RUSHDIE: Charlie Hebdo attacked everything: Muslims, the Pope, Israel, Rabbis, black people and white people, gay people and straight people. It has attacked every kind of human being, because what? It was making fun. It's strategy was to make fun of people. And it was seen as that: it was very loved, these cartoonists were beloved in France.

And now, the moment somebody says, "yes I believe in free speech, BUT," I stop listening.

You know: "I believe in free speech, but people should behave themselves." "I believe in free speech, but we shouldn't upset anybody." "I believe in free speech but let us not go too far."

The point about it is the moment you limit free speech, it is not free speech. The point is that is was free. You can dislike Charlie Hebdo, not all their drawings are funny, but the fact that you dislike them has nothing to do with their right to speak. The fact that you don't like them in no way excuses their murder.

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