In the wake of a crude anti-Islamic film, the bounty on Salman Rushdie’s head has been increased and the fatwa revived. As the world awaits the highly anticipated memoirs of Salman Rushdie, a religious foundation has increased a reward for killing the British author.
Rushdie’s most widely known death warrant was born on Valentine’s Day 1989. For Rushdie, the nightmare began when the author answered a telephone call from a BBC reporter and told him that the Ayatollah Khomeini had sentenced him to death. When asked how he felt, he told the female journalist: ‘It doesn’t feel good.’ What he actually thought was: ‘I’m a dead man.’
23 years after a reward was placed on Rushdie’s head, a powerful Iranian ayatollah has increased the bounty on the British novelist’s, after linking his alleged blasphemy against Islam with his 1988 novel, the Satanic Verses.
Ayatollah Hassan Sanei said the controversial film at the heart of current widespread protests, Innocence of Muslims, would not have been made if Rushdie had been killed before as ordered by the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989.
“[The film] won’t be the last insulting act as long as Imam Khomeini’s historic order on executing the blasphemous Salman Rushdie is not carried out,” said Sanei.
Sanei is head of the 15th of Khordad Foundation, the powerful state-run organization that first offered a $1m reward to whoever carried out the fatwa and killed Rushdie. The bounty now stands at $3.3m (£2m).
“I’m adding another $500,000 to the reward and anyone who carries out this order will immediately receive the whole amount,” Sanei said.
“If the imam’s order was carried out, the further insults in the form of caricatures, articles and films would not have taken place. The impertinence of the grudge-filled enemies of Islam, which is occurring under the flag of the Great Satan, America, and the racist Zionists, can only be blocked by the absolute administration of this Islamic order.
“The aim [of the fatwa] has been to uproot the anti-Islamic conspiracy and now the necessity for taking this action is even more obvious.”
Although the Rushdie affair had been declared “finished” in 1998 by Iran’s then president, Mohammad Khatami, the fatwa against the Indian-born writer was never officially lifted.
Sanei’s declaration was the latest outburst in the wave of hostility that followed the trailer of the movie that insults the Prophet Mohammed being posted on YouTube.
“The impertinence of the grudge-filled enemies of Islam, which is occurring under the flag of the Great Satan, America and the racist Zionists, can only be blocked by the absolute administration of this Islamic order,” he added.
Sanei further said that ‘the aim of the fatwa has been to uproot the anti-Islamic conspiracy and now the necessity for taking this action is even more obvious than any other time’.
“I’m adding another 500,000 dollars to the reward and anyone who carries out this order will immediately receive the whole amount,” he added.
According to the paper, now the total bounty on the Booker Prize-winning author $3.3 million.
In all likelihood, Rushdie will perhaps rein in his life style a bit until the publicity arc of this latest renewal dissipates. With the inclusion of many more Islamic countries into the earshot of world news Rushdie has to be frustrated that the nightmare continues.