Muslim leaders call for Salman Rushdie to be denied entry to India

Salman Rushdie, who plans to attend a literary festival in the country, says he's still coming

Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center
Salman Rushdie said, "I don't need a visa" via Twitter in response to calls for him to denied entry to his home country of India.

Salman Rushdie's plans to attend literary festival in India have prompted protests from members of the Muslim community.

Rushdie, a writer born in India, went into hiding for a decade after his book “The Satanic Verses,” first published in 1988, triggered a fatwa ordered against him by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then the religious leader of Iran. The fatwa urged Muslims to kill Rushdie and those who published his books.

The fatwa was lifted in 1998, but many still object to the author because of what some Muslims view as a blasphemous portrayal of the prophet Mohammed in his works. Some Islamic leaders are now demanding that the Indian government deny Rushdie entry to the country for the Jaipur literary festival, which takes place from Jan. 20 to 24.

“For the record, I don’t need a visa,” Rushdie said on Twitter.

Rushdie was still planning on coming to the festival, according to an article by the Guardian.

Abul Qasim Nomani, the vice chancellor of Deoband and an influential Islamic seminary in the country, told The Times of India that he believed Rushdie should be barred from the country.

“If he visits India, it would be adding salt to the injuries of Muslims,” he said. “He has hurt our religious sentiments.”

Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, a Muslim cleric, agreed.

“India is a country where the sentiments of each community and caste are respected,” he told Reuters. “And therefore such a man should not be permitted to come to the country.”

Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.

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