Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Rushdie Cancels Literary Event in Wake of Islamist Threats

January 20, 2012 4:37 pm 0 comments

Salman Rushdie at the Vanity Fair party celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival. Photo: David Shankbone.

An Indian Islamist leader is hailing Salman Rushdie‘s decision to cancel an appearance at a literary festival due to death threats as “a victory for democracy.”

Rushdie was to speak today at Asia’s largest literature festival in the western Indian city of Jaipur. But in an e-mailed statement read by the festival producer, Rushdie alleged “that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to eliminate me.”

“While I have some doubts as to the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible for me to come to the festival in such circumstances,” Rushdie’s statement added.

Islamists around the world have denounced the Indian-born author’s 1988 book The Satanic Verses as blasphemous. Iranian ruler Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death shortly after the book’s publication. Rushdie went into hiding for nine years but then returned to public life. The fatwa was subsequently lifted by the Iranian government in 1998.

Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani, head of a prominent Indian Islamist seminary Darul Uloom Deoband, hailed Rushdie’s decision as “a victory for democracy because some Muslim organizations, including Darul Uloom Deoband, have opposed the visit to India in a democratic way.”

Mohammad Salim, national secretary of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, also welcomed the announcement and described Rushdie as a “criminal from our religious point of view.”

India West, a U.S.-based weekly publication targeting the Indian-American population, reports that the Mumbai-based Reza Academy announced a reward of Rs. 1 lakh (roughly $2,400) for anyone who threw a slipper at Rushdie during the event. Throwing a shoe or slipper is a form of insult in Indian culture.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), told India West that CAIR does not support shoe throwing “but we believe that everyone should have the right to voice their opinions no matter how abhorrent.”

Hooper described Rushdie as “one of a cottage industry of Muslim bashers,” but added that “he’s almost a B-Team now,” given the rising Islamophobia in the past two decades.

Rushdie will take part in the event via video link. “Very sad not to be in Jaipur,” he said in a Twitter post. “I was told Bombay mafia don issued weapons to 2 hitmen to ‘elimnate’ me. Will do videolink instead. Damn (sic).”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →