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Salman Rushdie: What is the controversy surrounding Satanic Verses and what are some of his other major works?

Author Salman Rushdie may lose an eye and also suffered damage to his liver and arm nerves after he was stabbed onstage at a lecture in New York state.

Update:
Author Salman Rushdie may lose an eye and also suffered damage to his liver and arm nerves after he was stabbed onstage at a lecture in New York state.
Andrew WinningREUTERS

Author Salman Rushdie has suffered severe injuries after he was stabbed in the neck and torso while he was onstage at a New York state lecture. He is likely to lose one eye and also sustained serious injuries to his arm and liver.

Rushdie had been receiving death threats after he wrote his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims considered blasphemy. He was in hiding for almost a decade after Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, announced a religious edict known as fatwa, calling on Muslims to kill him after the 1988 release of the book. Iranian organizations raised millions of dollars to be able to put a bounty on the author’s head.

Why was The Satanic Verses controversial?

The Satanic Verses told of tales that featured a character inspired by the Prophet Muhammad. Both Rushdie’s portrayal of the character and interpretation of the Quran were thought to be blasphemous and incurred the ire of the Muslim community.

The Indian-born British writer had described his book as mild and said that some parts of it were taken out of context, but it was banned by a number of predominantly Muslim countries.

In 1998, a decade after the publication of Verses, the Iranian government under President Mohammad Khatami said it no longer supported Rushdie’s assassination, although the fatwa is still in force.

Rushdie: Prolific writer

Rushdie wrote his first novel, Grimus, in 1975. It was his second novel, the Booker Prize-winning Midnight’s Children, that earned him global fame. This book, a fable about modern India, was eventually made into a film. His third novel, Shame also gained popularity.

He continued to publish when he came out of hiding, including the novels The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, and Quichotte, essay collections, and children’s books.

In 2012 he published a memoir called Joseph Anton about his life in hiding after the fatwa was declared. He went by this name while he was under the protection of Scotland Yard.

His latest novel, entitled Victory City, is scheduled for publication in February.

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