The Stabbing of Salman Rushdie Renews Free Speech Debates

After the attack, Roya Hakakian, an Iranian American writer who in 2019 was warned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that she had been targeted by Iran, took to Twitter on Saturday to assail what she said was a lack of swift condemnation from U.S. government officials.
(On Saturday, President Biden issued a statement denouncing the “vicious” attack and hailing Mr. Rushdie as a symbol of “essential, universal ideals.” It was followed on Sunday evening by a more sharply worded statement from Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, the first from a U.S. government official to cite Iran.)

In an interview on Sunday, Ms. Hakakian, who came to the United States as a refugee in 1984, said that the heart of the Rushdie case is “being able to say that we, as writers, as novelists, as thinkers, can absolutely take on any issue we want in our works — and that includes Islam.”

But “nobody is saying that,” she said. Instead, “people are paying lip service to free speech.”