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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.