In 1988, the world learned about the very real danger of how an unflattering portrayal of the prophet Mohammad could set off a firestorm.
Salman Rushdie wrote ‘The Satanic Verses’ and after it came out, many Muslims were furious about the portrayal of the prophet Mohammad. The book was banned in 12 countries...but that didn't stop the outrage.
In 1989, the spiritual leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa or a death sentence against Rushdie. He called for all obedient Muslims to assassinate Rushdie and offered a bounty to whoever succeeded.
Rushdie went into hiding...even issuing a public apology - but it made no difference. Finally, nine years later, the fatwa was lifted.
But even during his hiding, Rushdie continued to write.
Rushdie has got a new book out, titled ‘2 Years, Eight Months, And 28 Nights’.
Fun facts about Salman Rushdie (Source: Wikipedia)
Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a British Indian novelist and essayist. His second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), won the Booker Prize in 1981. Much of his fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent. He is said to combine magical realism with historical fiction; his work is concerned with the many connections, disruptions, and migrations between Eastern and Western civilizations.
His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), was the centre of a major controversy, provoking protests from Muslims in several countries. Death threats were made against him, including a fatwā calling for his assassination issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on 14 February 1989, and as a result he was put under police protection by the British government.
Rushdie was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Britain's senior literary organisation, in 1983. He was appointed Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France in January 1999. In June 2007, Queen Elizabeth II knighted him for his services to literature. In 2008, The Times ranked him thirteenth on its list of the fifty greatest British writers since 1945.
Since 2000, Rushdie has lived in the United States, where he has worked at Emory University and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In 2012, he published Joseph Anton: A Memoir, an account of his life in the wake of the controversy over The Satanic Verses.
‘2 Years, Eight Months, And 28 Nights' is in bookstores now.
Check out Salman Rushdie's official website.
Follow Salman Rushdie on Twitter: @SalmanRushdie