There has been a heated international debate over Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses ever since its publication in 1988. The present work examines the ways in which this affair has developed. From the beginning, one can find strong rhetorical emphases; these are shown to argue for maintenance of meaningful boundaries. The thesis of Kuortti's book is that on each side of the debate, people use similar language to argue for the sanctity of their convictions. This is evident especially in the opposition between the arguments for the sacrality of Islam and literature. In the international exchange, how could we then find more respectful ways of acknowledging that we are not that dissimilar from each other?