Khomeini Urges Muslims to Kill Rushdie
Teheran Qualifies Threat to Author
Rushdie Novel Brings Bomb Threats
12 Die in Bombay in Anti-Rushdie Riot
Muslims Warned in Britain
Japanese Translator of Rushdie Book Found Slain
Iran Drops Death Threat
THE SATANIC VERSES (and or Salman Rushdie)
Salman Rushdie: Fiction's Embattled Infidel-Gerald Marzorati
Telling Truth Through Fantasy: Rushdie's Magic Realism-Michiko
Demonizing Discourse in Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses
What about Rushdie-Paul Thoreaux
Please see important website on the Satanic Verses with
extensive notes very helpful in reading and understanding the
complex text. See http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/anglophone/satanic_verses/
Urges Muslims to Kill Author of Novel
By SHEILA RULE
ONDON, Feb. 14 -- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran declared
today that the author and publishers of a novel deemed offensive
to Islam had been ''sentenced to death.'' The novelist, Salman
Rushdie, author of ''The Satanic Verses,'' said he was taking
the threat seriously.
Teheran radio quoted Ayatollah Khomeini as asking ''all the Muslims
to execute them,'' referring to Mr. Rushdie, who lives in London,
and the publishers of the book, Viking Penguin, ''wherever they
find them.'' He said that anyone killed carrying out his order
would be considered a martyr.
Rushdie's American agent said there were no plans to call off
the author's American promotional tour. All was quiet at Viking
Penguin's offices in New York, but a guard there said security
Taken 'Very Seriously'
was declared a day of mourning in Iran to protest the novel. It
has prompted violent protests by Islamic fundamentalists over
the author's projection of Islamic myths and Koranic motifs in
contemporary and futuristic settings, which many contend is blasphemous.
author of the 'Satanic Verses' book, which is against Islam, the
Prophet and the Koran, and all those involved in its publication
who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death,'' said
Ayatollah Khomeini, whose word is considered law by millions of
Shiite Muslims. ''If someone knows them but is unable to kill
them, he should hand them over to the people for punishment.''
Rushdie, who is 41 years old and was born into a Kashmiri Muslim
family in Bombay, could not be reached by The New York Times for
comment today. But he was quoted as telling the British Broadcasting
Corporation that he had to take the threat ''very seriously indeed''
and that he ''may well have to think about'' applying to the authorities
am very sad it should have happened,'' Mr. Rushdie was quoted
by the Press Association, Britain's domestic news agency, as saying.
''It is not true this book is a blasphemy against Islam. I doubt
very much Khomeini or anyone else in Iran has read the book or
anything more than selected extracts taken out of context.''
Foreign Office said today that clarification was being sought
over Ayatollah Khomeini's remarks, which, ''if true, are a cause
for concern.'' [ A leader of the British Muslims, quoted by Reuters,
added grave concern to the security situation late tonight by
reinforcing Ayatollah Khomeini's call for Mr. Rushdie's execution.
Said Abdul Quddas, joint secretary of the Council of Mosques in
the northern English city of Bradford, told reporters, ''Every
good Muslim is after his life. He has tortured Islam and has to
pay the penalty. He deserves hanging. [ ''There are any number
of people who would willingly carry out what to us would not be
a crime but a justified act.'' ] A spokesman for Scotland Yard
declined to comment on the threat. However, British newspapers
said the Special Branch of Scotland Yard was protecting Mr. Rushdie,
adding that a team of armed officers was probably assigned to
accompany the author. Special Branch officers will also increase
surveillance on Muslim fundamentalist groups in London and throughout
Britain, the agency said.
Khomeini statement came amid a wave of protests and attempts to
ban the book. On Sunday, a mob of thousands of enraged Muslims
tried to enter and destroy the American cultural center in Islamabad,
Pakistan, because Mr. Rushdie's book is being published in the
United States. The attack left five people dead and more than
100 people wounded; three people died in similar disturbances
in India on Monday.
in Britain burned copies of the book last month and W. H. Smith
booksellers withdrew it from public display in Bradford, a city
in the north that has a large Moslem community.
Press Association quoted Mr. Rushdie's literary agent in Britain,
Gillon Aitken, as saying that the author had been ''out and about,''
in response to a question about whether he was in hiding today.
assume he has been getting on with his life,'' Mr. Aitken said.
Satanic Verses'' begins with a plane crash over the English Channel
in which two men survive to be ''born again,'' one with a halo,
the other with slowly developing horns and hoofs. It is not clear,
despite their appearance, which of them is good and which is evil.
They become involved with characters named Alleluia Cone and Mahound,
the latter a businessman turned prophet who lives in the imaginary
city of Jahilla.
Rushdie's character the Prophet Mahound resembles the portrayal
of Jesus Christ in Martin Scorsese's film ''The Last Temptation
of Christ,'' in that Mahound is depicted as having a human nature
and wrestling with temptation. The work is clearly perceived as
offensive to Islam, but what exactly is regarded as insulting
has not been spelled out.
Iranian Government condemned the book as ''a dirty conspiracy''
against Islam and urged followers of Ayatollah Khomeini around
the world to take action against it. A Government statement read
on the Teheran radio called for cells of the Party of God -devotees
of the Ayatollah and a group of them in Lebanon is believed to
be holding Westerners who are missing and believed kidnapped there
- to take ''necessary steps to neutralize this plot.''
call on all Party of God cells in the world of Islam to grasp
the depth of this black conspiracy,'' the statement said. ''We
advise all Islamic Governments not to place themselves against
the million masses of angry Muslims but to demonstrate their disgust
and anger, together with their nation, towards this provocative
Iranian press agency quoted Prime Minister Mir Hussein Moussavi
as calling Mr. Rushdie an ''American mercenary.''
Mr. Rushdie was quoted as telling Independent Television News
here that he doubted that those conducting a campaign against
the book were trying to act as ''thought police.''
New York Times, February 15, 1989.]
Qualifies Threat to Author
By YOUSSEF M. IBRAHIM
ran's President indicated today that a death threat against the
novelist Salman Rushdie might be withdrawn if he apologized for
insulting Islam and Muslims.
President, Hojatolislam Ali Khamenei, said that although Mr. Rushdie
had made insulting allusions to the Prophet Mohammed, ''it is
possible the people may pardon him'' if he admitted that his book
was a ''blunder.''
he strongly defended Iran's actions and its threat against Mr.
Rushdie over the author's novel ''The Satanic Verses,'' he seemed
to indicate that Iran did not want the issue to grow more heated.
He warned against storming embassies to protest the book.
of Iranians demonstrated outside the British Embassy in Teheran
on Wednesday to denounce Mr. Rushdie, who was born a Muslim in
Bombay and is a British citizen.
demonstration came a day after the Iranian revolutionary leader,
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called on ''all brave Muslims'' to
kill Mr. Rushdie ''wherever they find him,'' and to kill the publishers
of his book.
new violence over the book was reported in Iran today, but news
agencies said at least 50 people were injured in clashes in Srinagar,
India, after 1,500 Muslims took to the streets to denounce the
book. Peaceful demonstrations were reported in Pakistan.
Rushdie, who lives in London, has reportedly gone into hiding
under police protection.
Iranian President's comments today were made during his weekly
prayer address and reported by the official Iranian press agency.
unusually strong words, President Khamenei warned that any attempt
to storm the British Embassy would be ''absolutely, absolutely
harmful for Islam and Muslims and detrimental for the Islamic
Republic.'' 'Don't Go Near the Embassies'
went on to say: ''I will issue the order right now as a Government
official, as a Friday prayer leader and as a Muslim scholar: Don't
go near the embassies. If you don't like British or American policies,
the way to express grievances is not like some who go over embassy
walls in an uncontrolled manner.'' Hojatolislam Khamenei added
that anyone contravening those orders would be considered a traitor.
on Iran said there was little doubt that the President's remarks
reflected concern in the Iranian leadership that the negative
international reaction to the threats against Mr. Rushdie could
provoke economic and military sanctions against Iran like those
imposed on it in the last few years of its war with Iraq.
Iranian officials, who asked not to be identified, also noted
that Hojatolislam Khamenei's stern prohibition against violence
reflected fear that radical elements might use the episode to
undo efforts to soften Iran's image as a militant revolutionary
President charged that Mr. Rushdie, whom he described as ''this
wretched man,'' carries the blame for much of what happened because
he sought a confrontation with ''a billion Muslims and with the
Imam,'' the reverential term used for Ayatollah Khomeini as the
leader of the faithful.
Hojatolislam Khamenei added: ''Of course, he may repent and say
'I made a blunder' and apologize to Muslims and the Imam. Then
it is possible that the people may pardon him.''
the President criticized Britain for allowing a British citizen
''to make such a blunder,'' he seemed to leave room for further
discussion. ''Britain is acting as if it was ignorant or maybe
it really is,'' he said. Cries of 'Death to Britain'
President's address, which was broadcast nationally, was interrupted
by cries of ''Death to Britain!'' from the audience and preceded
by demonstrations by university and high school students protesting
appears to be acting cautiously in the affair, saying it will
retain its diplomatic staff in Teheran but freeze the improvement
of relations that it had been pursuing with Iran. Britain's Foreign
Office said it received assurances from Iran that the embassy
and its staff would be protected ''and we expect them to keep
to that undertaking.''
spokesman was quoted by The Associated Press in London as saying,
''The publication of books in this country has absolutely nothing
to do with the British Government, and the Iranians should realize
[ Credit: New York Times, February 18, 1989.]
Novel Brings Bomb Threats
By HERBERT MITGANG
everal anonymous bomb threats by telephone
have been directed against the New York publisher
of Salman Rushdie's new novel, ''The Satanic Verses,'' and thousands
of threatening letters have been sent to the publishing house.
The book, which has been banned in India, Pakistan, South Africa,
Egypt and other countries with many Muslims, is regarded
as blasphemous by fundamentalist Muslim groups.
Penguin, Mr. Rushdie's publisher, has been distributing the novel
to bookstores around the country before its Feb. 22 publication
date. The book has a first printing of 50,000 copies and is an
alternate selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club.
Rushdie, who was born in Bombay and now lives in London, where
he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, plans to visit
the United States for readings, which begin Feb. 20 at the Manhattan
Theater Club at City Center. Threatening Calls on 3 Occasions
Penguin offices in Manhattan received three bomb threats in anonymous
telephone calls last month from a ''male with a Middle Eastern
accent who identified himself as being with the Islamic Nation,''
said Police Officer Joseph Gallagher, a spokesman for the New
York City Police Department. Detectives from the 13th Precinct
have been assigned to investigate what Officer Gallagher said
was so far ''a matter of harassment.''
Federal Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the source
of the anonymous calls. Joseph Valiquette, an F.B.I. spokesman
in the New York office, said, ''The F.B.I. has been made aware
of the bomb threats and is actively investigating them.''
threats on the building that houses the publishing company came
on Dec. 14, 21 and 22. On Jan. 6, another threatening call was
made to a company executive. The building was evacuated twice
and searched, but the police found nothing and employees returned
to their jobs. Letter-Writing Campaign
Garbus, a lawyer whose firm represents Viking Penguin, said he
had reported a mail campaign against the book to the police in
Queens, and Detroit, Chicago and Houston. He said thousands of
threatening form letters prepared and distributed by Muslim groups
in those areas had been sent to the publishing house.
Garbus said he considered the actions against the book a violation
of the Federal Civil Rights Act.
a telephone interview from his home in London, Mr. Rushdie described
his book as partly ''a comic novel'' that deals with serious issues
of ''cultural and spiritual dislocation.'' He said that in the
novel he created ''opposed combinations - between high comedy
and high tragedy, between Eastern and Western culture, between
the citizens of London and Bombay.''
this sense,'' he added, ''it is the most personal novel I have
ever written.'' Banned in India
Rushdie, who received the Booker Prize, Britain's most important
literary award, for his 1981 novel, ''Midnight's Children,'' said
he was aware of the campaign against his book but did not know
who had made the threats in the United States. He said the American
campaign followed the pattern in Britain and elsewhere before
the book appeared, when opposition was led by Muslim fundamentalists.
Satanic Verses'' was banned in India on Oct. 5 after protests
from Muslims who said it offended their religion and its prophet,
Mohammed. The banning order also extended to the importation or
sale of the book in India.
is not only my book that has been the subject of attack,'' Mr.
Rushdie said. ''A novel by Naguib Mahfouz of Egypt, the 1988 Nobel
Prize laureate in literature, has also been banned in the Muslim
countries even though it is an allegory.'' He pointed out that
some Muslim authors had gone into exile because their writings
were banned in their own countries. 'God Sent the Koran'
is a kind of conflict in Islam between the sacred text - the Koran
itself - and the profane text, such as verse,'' the author said.
''The Koran itself mentions poets critically. There is now a powerful
campaign against intellectuals and literature throughout the Islamic
world. What the religious fundamentalists are saying in effect
is: 'God sent the Koran. Full stop. End of discussion.' ''
Rushdie, who studied Islamic history at Cambridge University,
said Mohammed considered himself not a god to be worshiped but
a messenger. ''Any suggestion that the prophet might have been
tempted by human qualities,'' he said, ''is considered blasphemy.''
author and Viking Penguin emphasized that ''The Satanic Verses''
was a work of fiction. Mr. Rushdie said that in one section of
his novel there was a fictional prophet with a fictional name
''subject to temptation.'' The incident from which the title of
his book is taken is rooted in the early history of Islam. He
noted that his novel included ''a dream sequence, a fictional
prophet and a fictional country'' - and that he had gone to great
lengths to fictionalize this sequence.
common characteristic of the people who are fulminating against
this book is that they haven't read it,'' Mr. Rushdie said. ''I
studied history at Cambridge. The Islamic world would deny itself
the techniques of scholarship and the imagination. If I wanted
to write a purely religious history, I would not have written
New York Times, January 14, 1989.]
Die in Bombay in Anti-Rushdie Riot
By SANJOY HAZARIKA
NEW DELHI, Feb. 24 -- At least 12 people were killed and 40 wounded
today when the police fired at Muslims rioting in Bombay against
Salman Rushdie's novel, ''The Satanic Verses.''
accounts of the violence in Bombay, Mr. Rushdie's birthplace,
said the trouble began when Muslim demonstrators sought to move
past police barricades set up to block their march on the British
diplomatic mission in the city to protest British protection of
the novelist. Mr. Rushdie, a British citizen, is in seclusion
in England under police guard. A Three-Hour Battle
to the Press Trust of India news agency, the police fired at the
rioters in Bombay after people in the crowd opened fire on officers.
The result was a three-hour battle, with rioters spilling across
the crowded streets of South Bombay, burning cars, buses, motorcycles
and even torching the small police station.
quoted a protest leader, Sharafat Khan, as saying organizers were
pleading with the police to let a march proceed when the violence
broke out. ''It all happened so suddenly,'' he was quoted as saying.
''The crowd surged forward, and the police hit them with clubs.
There was stone throwing and then gunfire.''
news agency said the police had banned the march in anticipation
of violence, detaining 500 people and arresting 800 others in
the rioting itself.
Satanic Verses'' was banned in India soon after it was published
last year, and none of the protesters are likely to have read
the book, which many Muslims regard as blasphemous. Earlier this
month at least 3 people were killed and more than 100 wounded
in clashes between the police and the rioters in the northern
state of Kashmir, which has a Muslim majority and borders on Pakisan.
Pakistan, 6 people were killed and 83 wounded when the police
opened fire on demonstrators outside an American information center
in Islamabad who demanded the banning of the book in the United
leading Muslim figure in New Delhi, Syed Abdullah Bukhari, the
chief cleric at the city's largest mosque, has endorsed Iran's
condemnation of Mr. Rushdie and the calls for his killing.
recent tension over Mr. Rushdie's book has aggravated existing
sectarian problems, especially in northern India, officials say.
[Credit: New York Times, February 25, 1989.]
Warned in Britain
Feb. 24 (Special to The New York Times) - Home Secretary Douglas
Hurd warned Muslims in Britain today that they could seriously
damage the country's race relations by supporting death threats
or violent protests against Mr. Rushdie.
at the Central Mosque in Birmingham, Mr. Hurd acknowledged that
Muslims were ''grieved and hurt'' by Mr. Rushdie's novel. He said
that Muslims had a right to protest against the book but that
their opposition must remain within the rule of law.
law gives you the freedom to express your protests, peacefully
and with dignity,'' Mr. Hurd said in his prepared text, copies
of which were made available in London. ''British Muslims are
entitled to speak out in defense of their religious faith and
to protest about a book which they believe denigrates and insults
the Prophet of Islam. But to turn such protests towards violence
or the threat of violence is wholly unacceptable.''
another twist in the controversy, the Speaker of Iran's Parliament,
Hojatolislam Hashemi Rafsanjani, said today that if any Muslim
carried out Ayatollah Khomeini's order to kill Mr. Rushdie, the
action should not not be blamed on Iran or its Government.
Rafsanjani seemed to be trying to distinguish between what he
portrayed as a religious obligation that may be carried out by
faithful Muslims and official actions of the Iranian Government.
The comment appeared to be an attempt not to sever bridges with
[Credit: New Yorkl Times, February 25, 1989.]
Translator of Rushdie Book Found Slain
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN
OKYO, July 12 -- The Japanese translator of "The Satanic
Verses," by Salman Rushdie, was found slain today at a university
northeast of Tokyo.
translator, Hitoshi Igarashi, 44 years old, was an assistant professor
of comparative culture who reportedly studied in Iran in the 1970's.
The police said he was stabbed several times on Thursday night
and left in the hallway outside his office at Tsukuba University.
is the second time this month that someone involved with the production
of the novel by Mr. Rushdie, the Indian-born author condemned
to death by the Iranian authorities two years ago, has been assaulted.
On July 3, Ettore Capriolo, 61, the Italian translator of "The
Satanic Verses," was stabbed in his apartment in Milan. He
survived the attack with what were described as superficial wounds.
Urges Death Order's End
Milan police have made no arrests and offered no theory on the
attacker. But the authorities said without elaboration that the
assailant told Mr. Capriolo that he had a "connection"
to the Iranian Embassy in Rome. A man reached at the embassy late
today said no officials were available for comment.
police reported that a janitor had found the body of Mr. Igarashi
near an elevator on the seventh floor of the building with slash
wounds on his neck, face and hands. They said an autopsy showed
that he died between 10 P.M. on Thursday and 2 A.M. today.
addition to translating "The Satanic Verses," Mr. Igarashi
wrote books on Islam, including "The Islamic Renaissance"
and "Medicine and Wisdom of the East."
Rushdie went into hiding in 1989 after his novel's publication
in Britain brought a call by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran
for Muslims to kill the author. Ayatollah Khomeini, who said the
book was blasphemous and anti-Islamic, died in June 1989, but
the assassination order has been reaffirmed by the Iranian authorities.
the last year, Mr. Rushdie, a British citizen and Muslim who was
born in Bombay, has started to give interviews, make some public
appearances and issue statements construed as an apology for his
book, saying he never intended to defame Islam.
the Iranian Government refused to withdraw its assassination order,
although it appeared until these recent incidents that the immediate
threat to Mr. Rushdie might have subsided with the passage of
reported from London that Mr. Rushdie said in a written statement
today, "I am extremely distressed by the news of the murder
of Mr. Hitoshi Igarashi and I offer my condolences and deepest
sympathy to his family." He appealed to the British, Italian
and Japanese Governments and other world leaders "to make
urgent representations to the Government of Iran" to have
the death order set aside.
Against the Novel
person or group in Japan asserted responsibility for the killing
of Mr. Igarashi, which came to light late this afternoon, and
the police said they had no specific evidence that it was carried
out because of the novel.
news organizations reported that the publisher of the novel had
received death threats from Islamic militants and that Mr. Igarashi
had for a time been given bodyguards. Family members of Mr. Igarashi
said on television tonight that he had not received any death
threats that they knew of.
did not appear that Mr. Igarashi had any security guards at the
time of his death. The police said he seemed to have been killed
after some students left him about 7 P.M. on Thursday, and that
perhaps the incident occurred as he was heading out the door of
his office at Tsukuba University, about 40 miles northeast of
1989, the Islamic Center in Japan requested publishers, newspapers,
magazines and broadcast stations not to translate or reproduce
the novel, which it called an "anti-Islamic" work that
"contains filthy remarks and ridicules fundamental beliefs
Cannot Forgive the Novel'
are few native Japanese Muslims, but there is a large community
of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and others who worship at the Islamic
Center in the Akasaka district of Tokyo. News reports said the
center had about 30,000 members.
year as well, a leader of a Japanese association of Pakistanis
joined the condemnations of Mr. Rushdie, saying he deserved to
die because of the book.
cannot forgive the novel because it is insulting our prophet indecently
and making God's words Devil's words," the spokesman said
at the time.
the publisher, Shinseisha, a medium-sized house, went ahead, drawing
demonstrators outside its offices in 1990. At a news conference
in early 1990, a Pakistani was arrested after disrupting the scene
and trying to assault a promoter of the book.
Success but Not a Best Seller
news organizations reported that "The Satanic Verses"
had sold about 60,000 or 70,000 copies in Japan, making it a success
but not a best seller by Japanese standards. Despite the threats
to the publishers, the Japan Book Publishing Association said
in 1990 that it supported the publishers and promoters of the
book, saying, "We will make as much cooperation as possible
with those organizations on this issue as we obey the basic legal
some bookstores were more cautious, hesitating to sell the novel
or at least to display it. A spokesman for Maruzen books, a leading
bookstore chain, told The Japan Times in 1990 that "it is
difficult for us to put the book on counters because of possible
[Credit: New York Times, July 13, 1991.]
Iran Drops Rushdie Death Threat, And Britain
Renews Teheran Ties
By BARBARA CROSSETTE
U NITED NATIONS, Sept. 24 -- The Iranian Foreign Minister publicly
divorced his Government today from the death threat imposed on
the British author Salman Rushdie in 1989 by Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini, and Britain responded by restoring full diplomatic relations.
''The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has no intention,
nor is it going to take any action whatsoever, to threaten the
life of the author of 'The Satanic Verses' or anybody associated
with his work, nor will it encourage or assist anybody to do so,''
the Iranian Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharrazi, said in a statement
that he read to reporters today.
Kharrazi's remarks followed comments made in New York on Tuesday
by Iran's President, Mohammad Khatami, who told reporters that
the Rushdie affair was ''completely finished.''
next to Mr. Kharrazi, the British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook,
said he was ''delighted'' to hear Iran's position clarified and
to know that the reward offered to anyone willing to kill Mr.
Rushdie had been officially renounced.
an Iranian foundation continues to offer a $2.5 million bounty
for the death of the 51-year-old Indian-born British author, whose
novel Mr. Kharrazi said still offended the Iranians, the Foreign
Minister said his Government ''dissociates itself from any reward
that has been offered in this regard and does not support it.''
somewhat stunned Mr. Rushdie, interviewed by telephone in London,
said tonight, ''It's over.''
I went into the meeting with the British Government I wasn't sure,''
he said. ''But they have told me emphatically that this is it.
It's a breakthrough, and it's over. It's done. There is no longer
any threat from the Iranian regime. The fatwa will be left to
wither on the vine.''
addition to meeting with officials from the British Foreign Office,
Mr. Rushdie spoke by telephone with Mr. Cook twice today, and
said he was convinced by the Government's assurances. ''I am given
unequivocal and emphatic and definite information from the British
Government that it's true,'' he said.
Rushdie, who over the years often seemed on the verge of being
released from his death sentence only to have the Iranian Government
reiterate its commitment to the fatwa, or religious edict, said
he wasn't sure how to handle the thought of freedom. He has been
traveling in public with a team of Special Branch agents guarding
him; it was not clear how his security arrangements might change.
you're so used to getting hard news -- and by that I mean bad
news -- then news like this is almost unbelievable,'' he said.
''It's like being told the cancer is gone. Well, the cancer's
added, ''This has been an enduring and collective effort, and
I want to thank all those people who helped, many of whom are
in the United States, including the Government of the United States.''
of State Madeleine K. Albright, who received something of a rebuff
from the Iranians this week, was less enthusiastic. The United
States has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since the seizure
of the United States Embassy and the taking of American hostages
in 1979 during the revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini
to power. Khomeini died in June 1989, a few months after the edict
question is, how will it be implemented,'' Ms. Albright said of
Iran's pledge to distance itself from the bounty.
Rushdie's book, which was first banned in India, in the fall of
1988, and prompted riots in Pakistan in early 1989 just before
coming under Ayatollah Khomeini's edict, shocked Muslims in many
countries, who deemed it blasphemous.
book, written in Mr. Rushdie's most surreal style, includes a
dream sequence with prostitutes impersonating the wives of Mohammed
to improve their business. It also refers to Mohammed as Mahound,
a demon in Christian morality plays. Mr. Rushdie, who was born
a Muslim, was seen as a traitor to his faith.
Ayatollah Khomeini called for Mr. Rushdie's death, the author
was forced to seek haven in a series of safe houses in London
and was guarded around the clock.
recent years, Mr. Rushdie was able to travel abroad from time
to time, but under tight security.
an impromptu news conference today here after meeting Mr. Kharrazi,
Mr. Cook said, ''Her Majesty's Government recognized the fundamental
role of Islam in Iranian life and understood and regretted the
offense the book 'The Satanic Verses' has caused to Muslims in
Iran and elsewhere in the world.''
Cook said the understanding reached today with Mr. Kharrazi would
improve ties with the European Union as well as Britain. The British,
who had been represented in Teheran by a charge d'affaires, said
today that they would raise the level of representation to Ambassador.
assurances should make possible a much more constructive relationship
between the United Kingdom and I believe the European Union, with
Iran, and the opening of a new chapter in our relations,'' Mr.
[Credit: New York Times, September 25, 1998.]