Islamic foreign ministers Thursday condemned “The Satanic Verses,” urging that Salman Rushdie’s novel be withdrawn, but refused to back Iran’s decree that the British author be killed.
Foreign ministers of the 46-member Organization of the Islamic Conference issued a separate declaration on the controversial book, which has sparked Muslim protests worldwide, at the end of a four-day meeting in the Saudi Arabian capital.
Without mentioning Rushdie’s name, the declaration referred to the author as an apostate but fell short of meeting Tehran’s demand that the group support the Feb. 14 order by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme leader, that Rushdie must die for blaspheming Islam--a demand that led to a break in relations between Iran and Britain earlier this month.
Rushdie, who was born a Muslim but no longer practices the religion, went into hiding after Khomeini’s order was handed down.
“The council urges the publishing houses to immediately withdraw the book from circulation and it is upon member states to boycott any publishing house that does not comply,” delegates quoted the declaration as saying.