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Salman Rushdie stabbed in New York. Know the controversy surrounding author's 1988 book The Satanic Verses

More than three decades later, Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses continues to hound the India-born author. He has been stabbed in New York during an event.

Written By: Devasheesh Pandey New Delhi Published on: August 12, 2022 22:46 IST
Image Source : INSTAGRAM Salman Rushdie has been stabbed in New York during event

Salman Rushdie, the Mumbai-born author of the Booker Prize-winning novel Midnight’s Children, was stabbed and suffered a neck wound when a man stormed the stage during an event in New York on Friday. Rushdie was getting ready to deliver a lecture when the unfortunate incident took place. Rushdie, 75, has suffered years of death threats for his controversial book titled The Satanic Verses, published in 1988. After the attack in New York, he fell through a barrier to the stage and was seen with blood on his hands. The State Police are investigating the attack. 

Why is Salman Rushdie facing death threats for years? 

Rushdie was attacked in New York and his neck has been wounded after stabbing. He has been courting controversy ever since the book The Satanic Verses hit the shelves in 1988. Since the 1980s, Rushdie’s writing has led to death threats from Iran, which has offered a USD 3 million (roughly Rs 24 crore) reward for anyone who kills him. The Stanic Verses has been labelled 'blasphemous', which means it is believed to be addressing God with 'lack of respect'. It was his fourth book and forced him into hiding for nine years. A year after the book's publication, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for Rushdie's execution for publishing the book.

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Controversies surrounding The Satanic Verses?

The Satanic Verses has been deemed one of the most controversial books in literary history. The recent attack on Rushdie in New York is just another reminder of the fact that more than 30 years down the line, the controversy refuses to die down. In the book, through dream sequences, Rusdie challenges and sometimes seems to mock some of the most sensitive tenets of the Muslim religion. Mentioned below are some of its controversial portions. 


-- In The Satanic Verses, Rushdie chooses a provocative name for Muhammed. The Prophet is called Mahound – an alternative name for Muhammed sometimes used during the Middle Ages by Christians who considered him a devil.

-- Through Mahound, Rushdie appears to cast doubt on the divine nature of the Quran.

-- Muslims have found the title of the book incredibly sacrilegious. They took it to imply that the book's author claimed that verses of the Quran were "the work of the Devil".

-- In the book, Abraham, the messenger of God, has been called a "bastard".

Many more elements of the book have been considered controversial. In India and several other countries, The Satanic Verses has been banned. The story surrounds two Indian Muslims residing in England. 

Rushdie's more recent works

Rushdie is the author of 12 novels. In 2012, Rushdie published a memoir, Joseph Anton, about the fatwa issued against him by Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Rushdie's most recent novel is Quichotte, published in 2019. In it, Rushdie satirises President Donald Trump’s America.

(With PTI inputs) 


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