Free Speech is Becoming Dangerous Again | Opinion

The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Brooke Goldstein during a Newsweek episode of The Debate about free speech. You can listen to the podcast here:

First, I want to say, my deepest sympathies and compassion for Mr. Rushdie. I hope that he recovers soon what happened to him is absolutely horrific.

And I think the ripple effect is obvious. The deterrent effect on freedom of speech when it comes to criticizing theology — specifically, Islamist terrorism — because you might get physically attacked, you might get assaulted, or you might be murdered. And obviously Salman Rushdie is not the first or the last person to have had a fatwa against him.

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie

I actually had a fatwa also against me and my camera crew when we filmed our movie, The Making of A Martyr. For that movie, I risked my life to expose the recruitment of innocent Muslim children towards violence to become suicide and homicide bombers and child soldiers. And we were threatened as well. And not only that, we were called Islamophobic by Western media.

And you know what occurred to me? If risking your life to raise awareness about crimes against Muslim children is anti-Muslim, what then is pro-Muslim? So hypocrisy abound, and obviously the threats of violence create a situation which really chills open and free dialogue about theologically motivated terrorism.

Brooke Goldstein is a human rights attorney, the founder and executive director of The Lawfare Project, and the author of Lawfare: The War Against Free Speech.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.