Last broadcast 09 Feb 2009, 15:00 on BBC Radio 4.
To mark 20 years since the fatwa was issued against Salman Rushdie over the publication of The Satanic Verses, Mike Wooldridge talks to those who took part in the protests and burned the book.
When The Satanic Verses was published, one of the book burners, Inayat Bunglawala, was a second-year student at Queen Mary University in London. He, like many others, reasoned that the Thatcher government had banned Peter Wright's Spycatcher and had gone to court to prevent its distribution, so surely Rushdie's novel, which caused such offence to hundreds of millions of Muslims, deserved a similar fate?
When, on the 14 February 1989, the Iranian Islamic leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's death, the protestors were elated. London's Hyde Park saw 70,000 Muslims gather for what became one of the largest protests. Bradford was also the centre of much opposition.
But 20 years on, do the young men who took part in the demonstrations and the book burning still believe that their actions were justified, and would they do it again?