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Archives | February 14, 1989 , author Salman Rushdie threatened with death

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The publication of Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa of February 1989 calling for the assassination of the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie, caused a major international crisis.

Radio-Canada

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On February 14, 1989, the supreme leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini signed a decree (fatwa) urging all devout Muslims to shoot Salman Rushdie. What crime did the British-American writer of Indian origin commit to deserve such punishment? The answer in our archives.

Well Ayatollah Khomeini does not skimp on the means to get rid of 'a bad Muslim. He has just sentenced the writer Salman Rushdie to death, as well as the publishers of his novel, The Satanic Verses,for what he considers to be an insult to Islam.

A quote from Bernard Derome February 14, 1989

Report by correspondent Francine Bastien on the announcement of a fatwa pronounced by Ayatollah Khomeini which calls for the assassination of the writer Salman Rushdie.

The host of Téléjournal summarizes in two sentences the motive of the leader of the Iranian revolution for inviting any zealous Muslim to assassinate the author British-American of Indian origin Salman Rushdie.

The report by our correspondent in London, Francine Bastien, gives us more details on what is turning into a political and diplomatic storm across the world.

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In September 1988, Salman Rushdie published his fourth novel,The Verses satanic.

The book of some 500 pages uses several narration techniques, including certain elements, real or imagined, from the life of the Prophet Mohammed.

However, a passage from the book, as reported by Francine Bastien, presents a poetic allegory alluding to certain events which took place during the existence of the founder of Islam.

This is enough to enrage Islamic fundamentalists, particularly those living in the United Kingdom.

The latter consider the novel to be blasphemous and organize demonstrations to burn it.

On February 14, 1989, the spiritual leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa ordering the assassination of Salman Rushdie.

An Iranian revolutionary foundation goes so far as to promise a reward of two and a half million dollars to see him dead.

The controversy, which had continued to swell since September 1988, transformed into a political storm of international dimensions.

The British police must then heavily protect the author who now lives like a hunted man.

The threats made from Tehran against the writer eventually pushed Great Britain to break off diplomatic relations with Iran.

More than 20 countries, predominantly Muslim, will ban during the course of the crisis The Satanic Verses.

But across the planet , several countries and members of civil society will strongly oppose a gesture which constitutes a very significant violation of freedom of expression.

An attempt at censorship will also be launched in Canada as reported in this report by journalist Christine St-Pierre presented to Téléjournalon February 17, 1989.

Report by journalist Christine St-Pierre on the attempt to ban the entry of the book The Satanic Verses into Canada. Suzanne Laberge hosts Téléjournal.

That day, Canadian customs had to temporarily block the arrival of Salman Rushdie's novel in the country.

She needs to examine the validity of the assertion of the Muslim Association of Ottawa which maintains that the book constitutes hate literature within the meaning of the Canadian Criminal Code.

Journalist Christine St-Pierre notes that it has suddenly become difficult to obtain a copy of Salman Rushdie's novel in Montreal.

On February 19, 1989, the federal government rejected the assertion that the book violated Canadian law and reauthorized its entry into the country.

At the same time, Ottawa unambiguously condemns Iran's call for the murder of Salman Rushdie.

On February 18, 1989, we thought there were signs of calming down to the controversy.

From his London hideout, Salman Rushdie publicly apologizes for the pain his novel may have caused faithful Muslims around the world.

Initially, the Iranian government seemed to want to accept the writer's repentance.

Report from correspondent Francine Bastien on the reactions to the apologies presented by the writer Salman Rushdie following the publication of his book The Satanic Verses. Suzanne Laberge hosts Téléjournal.

But as reported in the report by our correspondent in London, Francine Bastien, presented on February 18, 1989 to Téléjournal,we later learned that Tehran had withdrawn.

Moreover, the remorse expressed by Salman Rushdie in no way attenuates the hostility of Islamic fundamentalists living in the United Kingdom towards him.

He must disown his book, otherwise his life is still in danger, says an Islamist spokesperson on British television.

The storm blew harder and harder and raged for almost 10 years.

Editors and translators of the volume were attacked, even injured or murdered, notably in Italy, Japan and Turkey.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Protests and attacks all over the world are causing victims.

On September 24, 1998, however, the tension seemed to be on the verge of resolving.

Report from host Stéphan Bureau on the resumption of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Iran.

As explained in the report by host Stéphan Bureau, presented that day at Téléjournal/Le Point, the resumption of diplomatic relations decided by the British and Iranian governments opens the way to a potential resolution of the crisis.

Iran's foreign minister vows his country will no longer help fundamentalists who try to assassinate Salman Rushdie.

His British counterpart reiterates Britain's regrets for the pain that Muslims around the world have suffered because of the publication of this book.

Salman Rushdie for his part claims to be now free and that the affair appears to be over.

But the Iranian government does not have the powers to revoke Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa.

On August 12, 2022, Salman Rushdie was the victim of an attack, to the great joy of Muslim fundamentalists, in a small town in the state of New York.

He survives, but has very serious after-effects.

The storm caused by the publication of the book The Satanic Verseswas an enormous battle during which adversaries and supporters opposed each other of freedom of expression.

Salman Rushdie also sees it, in retrospect, “one of the greatest challenges that Islam posed to the West . »

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