Author Salman Rushdie has given up his campaign for a paperback version of “The Satanic Verses” and will authorize no further translations so long as there is any possibility of causing offense to Muslims.
An Islamic leader in Britain who met with Rushdie said today the author hopes the statement will “make him a free man” after living in hiding for nearly two years under a death threat.
In a statement released by Dr. Hesham Essawy, president of the Islamic Society for the Promotion of Religious Tolerance, Rushdie also declared he does not agree with any statements uttered by characters in the book that cast aspersions on Islam, question the authenticity of the Koran or reject the divinity of Allah.
“I talked to Salman a couple of minutes ago. That is his statement, and he signed it,” said Frances D’Souza, who is chairman of Rushdie’s defense committee.
Without a paperback, Rushdie said in an interview with the Independent on Sunday newspaper, “in a few years the book simply won’t be there for anyone who wants to read it. It will, in all practical terms, have been suppressed.”
Rushdie has been in hiding under police guard since February, 1989, when now-deceased Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said the writer deserved death as a blasphemer. Iran offered a $1-million bounty for Rushdie’s death.