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Fatwa Against Salman Rushdie Turns 25

  • RFE/RL

February 14 is the 25th anniversary of the fatwa issued by Iran's former supreme leader against British writer Salman Rushdie.

On this day in 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ruled that Rushdie's book "The Satanic Verses" was "blasphemous against Islam" and an Iranian religious foundation offered a bounty for the author's assassination.

The threat to Rushdie's life led to Britain and the Islamic republic breaking diplomatic relations in March 1989 and forced Rushdie to live under police protection for several years.

Iran said it would neither enforce nor hinder the fatwa when it restored ties with London nine years later, maintaining that only Khomeini, who died in 1989, had the power to annul it.

Rushdie made a first public appearance in 1993 despite the fatwa and has frequently appeared in public since then without incident.
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