Everything that you need to know about Salman Rushdie
Rushdie has been the subject of controversy since his 1988 book, ‘The Satanic Verses,’ was published — even having to go into hiding due to the death threats he received over it
On Aug. 12, Salman Rushdie was stabbed as he was about to give a lecture at Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. According to The Associated Press, Rushdie has been the subject of controversy since his 1988 book, “The Satanic Verses,” was published — even having to go into hiding due to the death threats he received over it.
Who is Salman Rushdie?
Salman Rushdie is a famous novelist whose work has sparked controversy over the years. His first novel, “Grimus,” debuted in 1975 and it did not receive many positive critical reviews. Peter Kemp in The Sunday Times wrote, “But, apart from such reminders of what his imagination is capable of, there is little else to relish here. Although this novel massively mixes Greek myth and rock legend, it is far from fabulous.”
But Rushdie soon became an award-winning author.
In 1981, he won the Booker Prize for his second novel, “Midnight’s Children.” In 2008, the novel was judged to be the winner of the Booker Prize, and, according to a reviewer at The Guardian, it was the right choice for the award. “... I was overwhelmed by its zest and sparkle; the sheer joy in creation shown in every gleefully overloaded sentence, every authorial sleight of hand and every scatological joke.”
Rushdie published “The Jaguar Smile” in 1987, but it wasn’t until his next book that the controversy started. NPR reported that the debut of his 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses” changed everything.
Why is Salman Rushdie controversial?
“The Satanic Verses” was the book that made Rushdie controversial. He published it in 1988 with Viking Press. The book itself was controversial because of its inclusion of the so-called Satanic verses.
The Satanic verses refer to a supposed incident in which the prophet Muhammad mistook revelation from Satan as divine revelation. While modern Muslims deny that this incident took place, this supposed incident has been the subject of controversy for hundreds of years. Muslims now consider these verses heretical because Muslims hold that Muhammad was infallible and could not be deceived by Satan.
The novel also included speculation about Muhammad, contributing to the controversy.
Timeline of the controversy over “The Satanic Verses”
- Iranian leader known as Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or a religious edict, calling for the death of Rushdie and the book’s publishers on Feb. 14, 1989.
- According to the LA Times, in 1989, the Japanese scholar who translated Rushdie’s book, was stabbed to death and the Italian translator was also stabbed.
- The Associated Press reported that a semiofficial Iranian organization posted a $3 million bounty on Rushdie’s life at the time.
- The New York Times reported that 37 people were killed during the Sivas Massacre in Turkey in 1993, in part because Aziz Nesin, who translated parts of “The Satanic Verses,” was present.
- In 2006, Iran Focus reported that the official news agency of the Iranian government stated that the fatwa against Rushdie would exist forever.
- In 2016, the Nobel Prize Panel denounced the Iranian fatwa against Rushdie, who has spent much of his time in hiding since the publication of “The Satanic Verses.”
- According to the Deseret News, Rushdie was stabbed on Aug. 12.
- Axios reported that J. K. Rowling expressed support for Rushdie following the attack, and received a death threat as well.
Was Iran involved with Salman Rushdie’s stabbing?
Iran denied involvement in Rushdie’s stabbing.
The New York Times reported that while Iran denies involvement, the government’s spokesperson, Nasser Kanaani, said, “In this case, we don’t blame or condemn anyone except Salman Rushdie and his supporters.”
So far, the police have only arrested one person in conjunction with the attack: Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old New Jersey man.