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Why Warraq Is Right

- Abstract

In 1988, Salman Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses, a novel that depicted several iconic figures of Islam in ways taken to be sacrilegious. Muslims who took affront launched a worldwide campaign of murder and mayhem.

American and British bookstores carrying the title were firebombed. The Norwegian publisher was shot. The Japanese and Italian translators were stabbed, the former fatally. And an attempt to murder the Turkish translator through arson missed its mark but claimed 37 other lives. Lest this all be taken as merely the acts of the rabble, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, ruler of Iran, the world’s first Islamic Republic, issued a fatwa enjoining all Muslims to kill Rushdie.

About the Author

Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.