rushdie.gif Salman Rushdie (1947- )

He told her: he fell from the sky and lived. She took a deep breath and believed him, because of her father's faith in the myriad and contradictory possibilities of life, and because, too, of what the mountain had taught her. "Okay," she said, exhaling. "I'll buy it. Just don't tell my mother, all right?" The universe was a place of wonders, and only habituation, the anaesthesia of the everyday, dulled our sight. She had read, a couple of days back, that as part of their natural processes of combustion, the stars in the skies crushed carbon into diamonds. The idea of the stars raining diamonds into the void: that sounded like a miracle, too. If that could happen, so could this. Babies fell out of zillionth-floor windows and bounced. There was a scene about that in François Truffaut's movie L'Argent du Poche...She focused her thoughts. "Sometimes," she decided to say, "wonderful things happen to me, too."

--from The Satanic Verses

Iran will not drop Rushdie's death sentence (2/18/96)

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran's foreign minister says his country will not remove its death sentence for British writer Salman Rushdie for alleged blasphemy but won't do anything to enforce the policy, either. "In its negotiations with European countries ... the (Iranian) foreign ministry has stressed the validity of Imam Khomeini's fatwa and the impossibility of its withdrawal," Ali Akbar Velayati told the English- language daily Iran News Sunday. The European Union has called on Iran to abide by international law and drop the death sentence. Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued the fatwa, or religious edict, in February 1989, condemning Rushdie to death for alleged blasphemy against Islam in his novel.

Text Copyright © 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.

Writer Ahmed Salman Rushdie, b. Bombay, India, June 19, 1947, is best known for his novel The Satanic Verses (1989), a fantasy whose publication aroused the wrath of many Muslims and persuaded Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini to offer a multimillion-dollar reward for the author's assassination. Rushdie was forced to go into hiding.

Rushdie's work hinges on his many identities--an Indian Muslim who writes in English, whose family left India for Pakistan, and who now lives in England. Midnight's Children (1981), which first brought Rushdie a wide audience and won Britain's Booker Prize, is an allegory about the birth of independent India. Shame (1983) focuses on Pakistan's recent rulers. The Satanic Verses is a complex work whose two protagonists, like Rushdie, are expatriate Indians. The passage describing the birth of a religion resembling Islam are seen as blasphemous by Muslims, and the book has been banned in most Islamic countries. Despite Rushdie's denial of any intentional blasphemy, and his pubic decision in 1990 "to enter into the body of Islam after a lifetime spent outside it," his death sentence remained in force. He as continued to write, however, publishing both the children's tales in Haroun and the Sea of Stories and the essays in Imaginary Homelands in 1991.

Bibliography. Brennan, T., Salman Rushdie and the Third World (1989); Weatherby, W. J., Salman Rushdie (1990).

Text Copyright © 1993 Grolier Incorporated

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