Events Following Iran’s Fatwa Against Author Salman Rushdie

- Feb 14, 1989: The fatwa. Khomeini calls on all Muslims to kill Rushdie.

 – Indian-born novelist Salman Rushdie, who was attacked on a New York state lecture stage on Friday, spent years in hiding after he was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his writing.

[aesop_image img=”” panorama=”off” credit=”REUTERS/Chris Pizzello ” align=”center” lightbox=”off” captionsrc=”custom” caption=”Author Salman Rushdie (R) poses with his 1988 book ‘The Satanic Verses’ alongside fellow honoree Tashbih Sayyed before the American Jewish Conference’s 30th Annual Dinner, ‘Profiles in Courage: Voices of Muslim Reformers in the Modern World,’ in Beverly Hills, California September 17, 2006. Rushdie was presented with the organization’s highest honor, the Stephen S. Wise Humanitarian Award, during the event. ” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

Following are some key events that followed that death edict – or fatwa – issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after the publication of Rushdie’s 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses”, which Khomeini deemed blasphemous to Islam.

[aesop_image img=”” panorama=”off” credit=”A black-clad girl carries a sign vowing to kill author Salman Rusdie during a pro-Iranian rally in Beirut’s southern suburbs February 26, 1989.” align=”center” lightbox=”off” captionsrc=”custom” caption=” In the background is a poster of Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who ordered Moslems to kill Rushdie for alleged blasphemy against the Islamic faith. Reuters/” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

[aesop_image img=”” panorama=”off” credit=”An Iranian man uses his smartphone while walking under portraits of Ali Khamenei (L) and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in northern Tehran on February 23, 2022. REUTERS./ ” align=”center” lightbox=”on” captionsrc=”custom” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

– Feb 12, 1989: At least six people are killed in the Pakistani city of Islamabad in shooting between police and gunmen in a crowd protesting against the sale of the novel in the United States.

– Feb 14, 1989: The fatwa. Khomeini calls on all Muslims to kill Rushdie.

– Feb 24, 1989: Twelve people are killed in Mumbai when police open fire to prevent a crowd of 10,000 protesters marching on the British High Commission.

– May 27, 1989: Pro-Iranian and pro-Iraqi factions clash when some 30,000 Muslim demonstrators mass outside the British parliament.

– Sept 14, 1989: Four bombs are planted outside bookshops in Britain owned by Penguin, publisher of “The Satanic Verses”.

– July 3, 1991: Ettore Capriolo, Italian translator of The Satanic Verses, is beaten and attacked with a knife in his Milan flat by a man who says he is Iranian.

– July 12, 1991: Japanese translator Hitoshi Igarashi is stabbed to death in Tokyo by an attacker who flees.

– Sept 7, 1995: After six years under police protection and living in safe houses, Rushdie appears in London in his first pre-announced public appearance since the fatwa was issued.

– Feb 12, 1997: Eight years after it first offered a reward, the Iranian revolutionary 15th Khordad Foundation increases the bounty on Rushdie’s head to $2.5 million.

– Sept 22, 1998: Iranian President Mohammad Khatami says the Rushdie affair is “completely finished”.

– Sept 24, 1998: Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi tells British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook at the United Nations in New York that Iran will take no action to threaten Rushdie’s life, nor encourage anybody else to do so.

– Sept 28, 1998: Iranian media say three Iranian clerics have called on Islamic followers to kill Rushdie under the fatwa.

– Oct 4, 1998: Some 160 members of the Iranian parliament say the death decree against Rushdie remains valid.

– Oct 10, 1998: A hardline Iranian student group sets a one billion rial (then $333,000) bounty on the head of Rushdie.

– Oct 12, 1998: State-linked Iranian religious foundation raises its $2.5 million bounty by $300,000.

– Feb 3, 1999: Mumbai-born Rushdie is granted a visa by the Indian government to visit his country of birth, triggering protests by Muslims.

– June 15, 2007: Rushdie is awarded a knighthood by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth for services to literature, prompted diplomatic protests from Pakistan and Iran and demonstrations in Pakistan and Malaysia.

– Jan 20, 2012: Rushdie cancels plans to attend a major literature festival in Jaipur, India, after protests from some Indian Muslim groups.

– Sept 16, 2012: Iranian religious foundation raises its bounty for killing Rushdie to $3.3 million.

– June 20, 2014: Rushdie wins annual PEN/Pinter Prize for his support for freedom of speech and what judges call his generous help to other writers.

– Oct 13, 2015: Rushdie warns of new dangers to freedom of speech in the West amid tight security at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The Iranian Ministry of Culture cancelled its national stand at the fair because of Rushdie’s appearance.

– Feb 22, 2016: Iranian state-run media outlets add $600,000 to a bounty for the killing of Rushdie.

– June 1, 2022: Rushdie is made a Companion of Honour in the British Queen’s annual birthday honours.

– Aug 12, 2022: Rushdie is attacked on stage at a literary event in Chautauqua, western New York state, and is flown by helicopter to a local hospital for treatment.

(Compiled by John Stonestreet; Editing by Daniel Wallis)


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