It was 20 years ago this month that Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced his fatwa on Salman Rushdie. I inform all zealous Muslims of the world, he proclaimed: that the author of the book entitled The Satanic Verses . . . and all those involved
in its publication who were aware of its contents, are sentenced to death.
This was not just a brutally shocking act that forced Rushdie into hiding for almost a decade; it also helped to transform the character of British society. The Rushdie affair was the moment at which a new Islam dramatically announced itself as a
political force — and the moment when Britain realised that it was facing a new kind of social conflict.
Muslim fury seemed to be driven not by harassment or discrimination, but by a sense of hurt that Rushdie's words had offended their deepest beliefs. Where did such hurt come from? How could a novel create such outrage? Could Muslim anguish be assuaged
and should it be?
Salman Rushdie is to write a book about the decade he spent in hiding while living under a fatwa issued by the then-Supreme Leader of Iran, Grand Ayatollah Khomeini.
Rushdie said: It's my story, and at some point it needs to be told. That point is getting closer, I think, added Rushdie.
Rushdie was forced into hiding in 1989 when Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill the author, claiming that his book The Satanic Verses insulted Islam.
At one point the bounty on Rushdie's head rose to £1.8m. The Japanese translator of the work was killed, the Norwegian and Italian translators barely survived assassination attempts, and an attempt on the life of the Turkish translator in
1993 resulted in a riot causing the deaths of 37 intellectuals who had gathered in Sivas, Turkey, for a cultural festival.
D'Souza doubts that the book will be a straight diary . There are a huge number of incidents that people may not be aware of, she said. There were times when he was absolutely under threat. But he will make it into a novel of a
Sir Salman Rushdie faces the threat of reprisals from Indian Muslims after a leading Islamic institute demanded the government ban his scheduled appearance at the Jaipur Literature Festival.
The demand from the Islamic body revived divisions over The Satanic Verses , his 1988 novel that Muslim groups have condemned as blasphemous. The book provoked 'outrage' throughout the Muslim world over the narrator's claim that
disputed verses in the Koran had been revealed by the Archangel Gabriel.
Fatwas from the Darul Uloom seminary in Deoband are observed throughout the world. Its vice chancellor said tens of millions of muslims remain hurt about the novel. Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, the institute head, said:
I call upon the Muslim organisations of the country to mount pressure on the centre to withdraw the visa and prevent him visiting India where [tens of millions] community members still feel hurt owing to the anti-Islamic remarks in his writings
The Muslims cannot pardon him at any cost,
His remarks were supported by party leaders in Uttar Pradesh, India's largest state which is home to the seminary. Rajesh Dixit, general secretary of the Samajwadi Party, the state's second largest party, said the author's visit must be prevented
to avoid insult to India's Muslims.
Rushdie, who was born in Mumbai and holds Indian travel documents, remains committed to appearing at the festival, he said. The author posted a defiant response on Twitter. Re: my Indian visit, for the record, I don't need a visa.
Sir Salman Rushdie's name has been dropped from an Indian literature festival amid fears for his
safety after threats of protests by the country's most influential Islamic seminary.
The author of Midnight's Children, voted the best Booker Prize winner of the last 40 years, was quietly deleted from the Jaipur Literature Festival programme after the government voiced security concerns and said the opinions of protesters could
not be ignored
Rushdie said in a statement that he had decided to cancel his trip. He said he had been informed by intelligence sources that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to "eliminate" me . While I
have some doubts about the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the festival in such circumstances. .
India's reputation for upholding free speech suffered a body blow yesterday after a scheduled video address by Salman Rushdie to a literary festival was cancelled just minutes before it was due to start amid protests and fears of violence.
The British novelist had been due to take part in an hour-long video interview after alleged death threats and protests from Muslim leaders linked to his 1988 book The Satanic Verses persuaded him not to attend the Jaipur festival in person. But,
having earlier indicated the event would go ahead, organisers announced it was being called off at the request of the owner of the festival's venue, who had been told by police that planned protests could end in violence.
Last night, Rushdie described what had taken place as a black farce and recalled a letter he had written to Rajiv Gandhi, the Prime Minister when India became the first country to ban the book more than two decades ago. What kind of
India do you want to live in? he said in an interview on Indian television. I find an India in which religious extremists can prevent the freedom of expression at a literary festival, in which the politicians are, let's say, in bed with
Rushdie also had a few choice words about censorship by threat of violence:
It's astonishing to me that suddenly not only my physical presence, but even my image on a video screen is considered to be unacceptable. I think it's pretty shocking.
While I've been cast as this so called enemy of Islam, which seems ludicrous to anyone who knows how I have written and spoken over the years, the real enemies of Islam are the leaders, the Deobandis, the various extremist leaders and their
followers, who behave like this, because what they do is to strengthen the extremely negative image of Islam as an intolerant, repressive, and violent culture, as an ideology masquerading as a gentle faith, whereas actually what happens every time
it's crossed, or every time it dislikes something, is that it resorts to threats and violence. People like this, who behave like this, are the ones who feed that image and they are the ones responsible for the negative views of Islam in the world,
and they should be called the enemies of the faith.
I would have said that the vast majority of Indian Muslims really, frankly, don't give a damn whether I come or go. They have many other pressing concerns of their own, to do with their own economic conditions, their own educational conditions,
their own prospects in the country, and they are concerned with those. They are concerned with their personal lives and whether a writer comes to speak at a literary festival or not, I would suspect, is a non-issue for the vast majority of Muslims
in the country
Legal proceedings have been filed against four authors that read aloud from Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses.
The Jaipur story has now taken a new turn, on 6th February two courts in the city began legal proceedings after complaints were filed by among others, members of an organisation that campaigned against Salman Rushdie's participation in the Jaipur
Literature Festival. They allege that the festival organisers and four authors who read from Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses, hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.
The four authors --- Amitava Kumar, Hari Kunzru, Ruchir Joshi, and Jeet Thayil --- read from the novel to express solidarity with the absent Rushdie, and as a mark of protest. Rushdie did not go to Jaipur after he received plausible information
that security forces had evidence of death threats against him. Now the festival's organisers are also being charged under provisions of India's criminal laws, which date back to the colonial era.
The complainants main contention is that the authors and the festival organisers conspired to promote enmity on grounds of religion. One magistrate has recorded the complaint to decide if the case has any merit before it is sent to the
police to register a First Information Report. That case will now be heard on 8 March.
The Stressful Life of Salman Rushdie and Implementation of his Verdict is the title of the game being developed by the Islamic Association of Students, a government-sponsored organisation which announced this week it had completed initial phases
News of the computer game came as Tehran played host to the country's second International Computer Games Expo. Press TV, Iran's English language propaganda channel said (maybe alluding to the Salman Rushdie fatwa game):
The organisers considered the event as an opportunity to introduce Iranian culture, value and Islamic identity to international computer games designers and producers.
Three years ago, the student association and Iran's national foundation of computer games asked students across the country to submit scripts for the game and the top three were handed over to video developers. But development of the game made slow
Little has been revealed about the game but its title suggests players will be asked to implement Khomeini's call for the killing of Rushdie.
Saudi Arabia has summoned the Czech ambassador over a new translation of Sir Salman Rushdie's book Satanic Verses .
Saudi expressed its condemnation and disapproval of translating the book , which it claims is offensive to Islam, and hopes the Prague government will ban the publication of the work. It was reported that Saudi demanded that religion and
cultures not be insulted in any way or form.
But Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told his country's CTK news agency:
We have no reason to interfere in any way because we have freedom of the press and expression.
Meanwhile Iran has announced that it is boycotting a Frankfurt book fair after organisers invited Rushdie as a guest speaker. The foreign ministry said the fair had:
Under the pretext of freedom of expression, invited a person who is hated in the Islamic world and create the opportunity for Salman Rushdie ... to make a speech.
The ministry also called on other Muslim nations to join its boycott. Deputy culture minister Abbas Salehi said:
Fair officials chose the theme of freedom of expression, but they invited someone who has insulted our beliefs.
The Frankfurt Book Fair has said that freedom of expression is non-negotiable , in response to the Iranian Ministry of Culture's confirmed boycott of this week's fair over the presence of keynote speaker Salman Rushdie. Juergen Boos, director of
the Frankfurt Book Fair, said:
We very much regret the Iranian Ministry of Culture's cancellation. Frankfurt Book Fair is a place of dialogue. At the same time, we hope that this year's cancellation is just a brief interruption in the existing conversations and that we can continue to
expand on the established relationships. Nevertheless, for us, freedom of expression is non-negotiable. We must not forget that Rushdie is still being threatened with death for his work.
The Frankfurt Book Fair has said it hopes for further dialogue with the Iranian Ministry of Censorship.
40 Iranian state-run media organisations have raised a further $600,000 (£420,000) to the bounty on Salman Rushdie's head. This backs the fatwa that has been running for the 27 years since Iran's first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini,
called for Rushdie's murder following the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses.
The fatwa provoked an international outcry and caused the UK to sever diplomatic relations with Iran for nearly a decade. In 1998, Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami said the fatwa was finished , but it was never officially lifted and
has been reiterated several times, occasionally on the anniversary, by Iran's current supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and other religious officials. Iran's deputy culture minister Seyed Abbas Salehi told Fars:
Imam Khomeini's fatwa is a religious decree and it will never lose its power or fade out,
Prominent campaigners have protested the re-awakened fatwa in a letter to the Guardian:
We are outraged to learn that 40 state-run media outlets in Iran have raised $600,000 (£420,000) to add as bounty to Ayatollah Khomeini's death fatwa on the writer Salman Rushdie because of his novel The Satanic Verses. We condemn the Iranian
regime, its fatwa and the added bounty. We stand with Rushdie and the many Iranian freethinkers and writers languishing in prison, or facing the death penalty, for exercising their right to free expression and thought.
The Iranian regime must face global condemnation for its incitement to murder. Democratic and secular governments should unequivocally condemn the regime's fatwa and bounty, demand their immediate cancellation, prioritise human rights and free
expression, and side with freethinkers rather than appeasing a theocratic regime.
AC Grayling Philosopher , Adil Hussain Activist , Afsaneh Vahdat Women's rights campaigner , Ali A. Rizvi Author of The Atheist Muslim , Ali al Razi CEMB Activist and writer , Aliaa Magda Elmahdy Activist
, Alice Carr President of Progressive Atheists of Australia , Annie Sugier President of Ligue du Droit International des Femmes , Anthony McIntyre Writer and historian , Ariane Brunet Centre for Secular Space , Asra
Q. Nomani Author, journalist, critical thinker and co-founder of Muslim Reform Movement , Ateizm Dernegi in Turkey , Author Jesus & Mo , Awat Farokhi Political activist , Becky Lavelle President Hull University,
Secularist Atheist and Humanist Society , Behzad Varpushty Human rights activist , Benjamin David President of Warwick Atheists Secularists and Humanists , Boris van der Ham Humanistisch Verbond (Dutch Humanist Society) , Caroline Fourest
Author , Chris Moos Secularist activist , Christine M. Shellska President of Atheist Alliance International , Claire Kennedy Curator of TEDxExeter , Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor Co-presidents of Freedom From
Religion Foundation , David Silverman President of American Atheists , Deeyah Khan Filmmaker and human rights activist , Derek Lennard Human rights campaigner , Dilip Simeon Labour historian and chairperson of the Aman
Trust , Djemila Benhabib Journalist and writer , Elham Manea Academic and human rights advocate , Erin Dopp Activist , Faisal Saeed Al Mutar Iraqi-born writer and activist , Faramarz Ghorbani Political activist ,
Fariborz Pooya Host of Bread and Roses TV , Farzana Hassan Author , Fateh Bahrami Political activist , Fauzia Ilyas Founder of Atheist & Agnostic Alliance Pakistan , Gita Sahgal Director of Centre for Secular
Space , Halima Begum Ex-Muslim researcher and blogger , Harsh Kapoor South Asia Citizens Web , Hasan Salehim Political activist , Hassan Radwan Founder of the Agnostic Muslims & Friends Facebook Group , Ibn
Warraq Writer , Ibrahim Abdallah Muslimish NYC organiser , Inna Shevchenko FEMEN Leader , Jane Donnelly Atheist Ireland , Joan Smith Author , Johann Hari Writer , John Perkins Secular Party of
Australia , Julie Bindel Justice for Women and the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize , Karrar Al Asfoor Arab Atheists and Forum for Humanitarian Dialogue , Kate Smurthwaite Comedian and activist , Keyvan Javid Director of
New Channel TV , Khalil Keyvan Political activist atheist and ex-political prisoner , Kiran Opal Feminist writer and activist , Kojin Mirizayi President of the Kurdish Society at the University of Kent , Lalia Ducos Women's Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights ,
Laura Guidetti Marea Magazine , Lisa-Marie Taylor Chair of Feminism in London , Lloyd Newson OBE , Maajid Nawaz Author and counter-extremism activist , Madhu Mehra Lawyer and executive director of Partners for
Law in Development , Magdulien Abaida Libyan women's rights campaigner , Marieme Helie Lucas Algerian sociologist and founder of Secularism is a Woman's Issue , Maryam Namazie Spokesperson for Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
One Law for All and Fitnah - Movement for Women's Liberation and Bread and Roses TV Producer , Masoud Azarnoush Activist , Mersedeh Ghaedi London Spokesperson for Iran Tribunal , Michael Nugent Atheist Ireland , Mina Ahadi
Coordinator of Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany and International Committee against Stoning , Mohamed Mahmoud Director of Centre for Critical Studies of Religion , Monica Lanfranco Marea Review , Mostafa Saber Marxist activist
, Nahla Mahmoud Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain , Naser Kashkooli Activist of the Worker-communist Party of Iran , Nina Sankari Polish secularist and feminist , Peter Flack Leicester Social Forum , Peter Tatchell
Human rights campaigner , Polly Toynbee Journalist , Pragna Patel Director of Southall Black Sisters , Ramin Forghani Founder of Ex-Muslims of Scotland , Richard Dawkins Scientist , Roberto Malini Poet,
writer and human rights defender, EveryOne Group , Ronald Lindsay President of Center for Inquiry , Rumana Hashem Founder of Community Women's blog and adviser to Nari Diganta , Safia Lebdi President of Insoumis-es and founder
of Free Arab Woman , Safwan Mason on behalf of the Council of ex-Muslims of New Zealand , Sam Harris Neuroscientist and author , Samir Noory Chairperson of Committee for Abolishing Death Penalty in Iraq member of group
"No to violence against women in Kirkuk" , Sanal Edamaruku President of Rationalist International , Sarah Peace Fireproof Library , Shelley Segal Singer/Songwriter , AC Grayling Philosopher , Sikivu
Hutchinson Author Moral Combat: Black Atheists Gender Politics and the Values Wars , Soad Baba Aissa Association pour la Mixité l'Égalité et la Laïcité , Stephen Evans Campaigns manager of National Secular Society , Stephen
Law Philosopher , Sultana Kamal Bangladeshi lawyer and human rights activist , Terry Sanderson President of the National Secular Society , Tom Holland Author and historian , Waleed El Husseini Founder of Council of
Ex-Muslims of France , Yasmin Rehman Centre for Secular Space , Zari Asli Friends of Women in the Middle East Society