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RUSHDIE, SALMAN

An Indian-borned Muslim(?) writer living in Britain, who wrote the famous "Satanic Verses", a fictional account of a prophet who wrote scriptures through suggestion by the devil, very similar to the issue of the SATANIC VERSES of Muhammad. Muslims all around the world were offended by his writing. In 1989, a fatwa was issued by the Iranian supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, calling for Muslims to kill him. As a result, he had been in hiding for the last decade. In Sep, 1998, the Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami, distanced the government from this fatwa, but Iranian ayatollahs maintain that this fatwa is irrevocable. The Tehran Times said: "The Iranian government's policy in respect of the fatwa is the same, and there is no change."

An Iranian foundation, Khordad Foundation, offered $2.5 million to anyone who killed the author after the fatwa was given. It later added another $300,000 in October, 1998 after Khatami's statements. The leader of this foundation, Ayatollah Hassan Saneii, is the representative of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who succeeded Khomeinei after his death. The Parti Islam in Malaysia, for example, says that

A fatwa cannot be rescinded unless a higher authority can offer a different interpretation. Since the death of Imam Khomeini in June 1989, there has not emerged another authority with greater or even equal stature to rescind the fatwa. In any case, it is based on sound Islamic principles and is supported by Qur'anic commands as well as numerous ahadith. Muslims throughout the world, of all Schools of Thought, support the fatwa. On September 29, three senior Ayatullahs in Iran reaffirmed the fatwa and said that it cannot be rescinded. ("For Rushdie, It is Not Over Yet!", Harakah, Oct 26, 1998)



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