How did Satanic Verses affect British Muslims over 30 years? BBC's Mobeen Azhar to tell the story
By Barfi Culture Team
2nd May 2018

Its almost 30 years since the controversy over Salman Rushdie's book Satanic Verses exploded in Britain and changed the politics of the British Muslim community forever.

The book was published in 1988 and was deeply controversial as many British Muslim claimed it insulted the Prophet Mohammed. Its author Salman Rushdie denied the charge.

In 1989 the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie, sparking protests and dividing Muslim opinion around the world. The now-defunct Union of Islamic Students' Associations in Europe praised the statement the fatwa and offered their services to the Iranian leader.

The controversy also led to the founding of several groups, including the Muslim Council of Britain, and made prominent many activists that later went on to the national stage.

Now BBC 2 is partnering with VICE films to explore the stories of the people behind the story, led by journalist Mobeen Azhar.

Azhar is an award-winning journalist who worked as a series producer on BBC2's Muslims Like Us and Radio 4's The Dawn of British Jihad.

The film will explore how the Satanic Verses controversy affected Muslims at schools, in mosques and on the streets, of Bradford, Bolton, Leicester and London.

It will follow a group of campaigners who believed they were fighting for their community’s civil rights at the time.

Azhar will return to his native West Yorkshire to track down Muslims who were involved in protests around the controversy. It will also feature campaigners who say the events of 1989 ushered in a new age of Political Islam, according to Deadline.

30 years on, the events of 1989 changed how Britain saw Muslims and how British Muslims organised themselves. The reverberations of that time are still being felt today.

A broadcast date has not yet been set.

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