The violent reaction four years ago to the publication in Denmark of a series of satirical cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed suggests that the cultural divisions highlighted 20 years ago by The Satanic Verses controversy have intensified rather than dissipated. Europe is currently facing what some call its biggest challenge: trying to come to terms with its Muslim minority. Across the continent, debates over the veil, the burka, and more recently the Swiss referendum banning the building of minarets, have prompted passionate, often violent responses. What are the consequences of this, for Europe and for literature, in a society that appears to be segregating along sectarian and racial lines and where intolerance is increasing on both sides of the divide?
When: Sunday, May 2nd
Where: powerHouse Arena
Time: 5-6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public. No reservations.
This Guernica program is co-presented by powerHouse Arena and PEN.
*Previous Guernica/PEN programs include last year’s event honoring the late Nigerian writer and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the 2008 discourse between Mia Farrow and Bernard-Henri Lévy on Darfur.