Salman Rushdie stabbed: The 1989 fatwa against the Indian-born novelist

They re-emerge on an English beach and mix with immigrants in London, the story unfolding in surreal sequences reflecting Mr Rushdie’s magic realism style.

The book was deemed blasphemous and sacrilegious by many Muslims including over references to verses alleged by some scholars to have been an early version of the Koran and later removed.

These verses allow for prayers to be made to three pagan goddesses, contrary to Islam’s strict belief that there is only one God.

Controversially, Mr Rushdie writes of the involvement of a prophet resembling the founder of Islam, Mohammed.

This prophet is tricked into striking a deal with Satan in which he exchanges some of his monotheistic dogmatism in favour of the three goddesses. He then realises his error.

Ayatollah Khomeini and others insist he had depicted the prophet irreverently.

‘Hang Rushdie’

In October 1988, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi banned the import of the book, hoping to win Muslim support ahead of elections. Some 20 countries went on to outlaw it.

In January 1989, Muslims in Britain’s northern city of Bradford burned copies in public.

A month later, thousands of Pakistanis attacked the US Information Centre in Islamabad, shouting “American dogs” and “hang Salman Rushdie”. Police opened fire, killing five.

Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa provoked horror around the Western world.

There were protests in Europe, and London and Teheran broke off diplomatic relations for nearly two years.

In the United States, authors like Susan Sontag and Tom Wolfe organised public lectures to support Mr Rushdie.

The author tried to explain himself in 1990 in an essay titled “In Good Faith” but many Muslims were not placated.

Disclaimer: This report is automatically generated from worldwide news services. NTN is not responsible for its content and does not moderate it.

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