Rushdie Cancels Appearance At Literary Festival

Posted January 20th, 2012 at 7:15 am (UTC-5)
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Salman Rushdie has canceled plans to attend an Indian literary festival Friday after protests from Muslim clerics and warnings that he could be targeted for assassination.

Rushdie said Indian intelligence sources had informed him “paid assassins from the Mumbai Underworld” were on their way to Jaipur to “eliminate” him. Rushdie said it would be “irresponsible” of him to come to the festival under such circumstances.

Rushdie's planned appearance at the Jaipur Literary Festival has reawakened the controversy over his 1988 book The Satanic Verses, considered blasphemous by many Muslim leaders. The Indian-born author spent years in hiding after Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for his death. The book is still banned in India.

An official at the prominent Darul Uloom Deoband seminary recently called for officials not to grant Rushdie a visa. Maulana Qasim Nomani said the author's writings have hurt Muslim feelings and he should not be allowed to enter India.

The seminary in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh is known for conservative teachings thought to have shaped the views of some radical Islamist groups, including the Taliban.