Author Salman Rushdie, who had a fatwa issued against him by the ayatollah of Iran in 1989 after the publication of his book The Satanic Verses, has made a strong statement regarding today's devastating attacks in Paris.
Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. 'Respect for religion' has become a code phrase meaning 'fear of religion.' Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.
Salman Rushdie's statement was issued via English PEN, an organization that works "to defend and promote free expression, and to remove barriers to literature." Rushdie was awarded the PEN Pinter prize in 2014.
Update: English PEN's website seems to have crashed after Rushdie's statement was published, but you can follow it, as well as Rushdie, on Twitter.