Censored: 5 plays and novels banned around the globe

Censorship of the arts has a long history, from ancient Greece to present-day Thailand. Here is a list of five plays and novels banned, for a variety of reasons, in regions across the globe.

2. The Satanic Verses

Portrayals of the prophet Muhammad perceived as blasphemous by many Muslims have generated tension and violence in the past. A Saudi blogger received threats and faces a possible death sentence for tweets on the prophet’s birthday that were deemed apostate and atheist, and in 2005 Muslims responded to a cartoon of the prophet in European newspapers with violent protests.

Literature is no exception when it comes to the respect that Muslims expect for the prophet. Award-winning author Salman Rushdie’s magical-realist novel “The Satanic Verses” was banned upon its release in all Arab states, plus India, Pakistan, and South Africa. The ban was a response to Mr. Rushdie’s depiction of Islam, and a character, described by The New York Times as “a businessman turned prophet named Mahound – a figure Muslim critics regard as a thinly and perversely disguised representation of the Prophet Mohammed.”

Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa on Rushdie in 1989, calling for his death. It still stands more than 20 years later.

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