In the face of criticism by Iran and Pakistan, and concerns expressed by Iraq, Britain has defended its decision to bestow a knighthood upon Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, among other novels.
As British Home Secretary, John Reed, put it, "We have a right to express opinions and a tolerance of other people's point of view, and we don't apologise for that."
He also defended Britain's record in protecting the feelings of minorities, saying "We have to be sensitive, but I think that we take the approach that in the long-run the protection of the right to express opinions in literature, argument and politics is of over-riding value to our society" (BBC).
I agree that free expression is extremely valuable, and is one of the things that makes countries that guarantee it pleasant to live in. However, there is, of course, the question of balance: at what point does one person's freedom of expression cause unnecessary pain to another? All in all, I think Britain has got the balance right, unlike some other Western European countries.