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Salman Rushdie and Joseph Anton

In the 1980’s, British Indian, Salman Rushdie, was minding his own business and writing fiction. Just kidding. He was bad to the bone, fighting for Indian rights and publishing novels about religion and politics that caused controversy and created uproars, none more so than The Satanic Verses (1988), a fictional tale of the Quran, migrants, Indians, dream sequences, and Mohammad and you can imagine how well that turned out.

The book received stellar reviews from critics but the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini wasn’t a fan and for the perceived disrespect to Mohammad, he issued a fatwa, calling for Rushdie’s death which is like the Godfather declaring open season on someone. Rushdie had to get 24 hour police protection and adopt a new code name, now known to be Joseph Anton. It wasn’t for nothing. There were many attempts on his life. The threats extended to anyone involved in the publication of the novel. Its translator, Hitoshi Igarashi, was murdered in 1991 by an unknown person.

Nicolina Torres
Nicolina Torres

Nikki worked for Barnes & Noble for 15 years, in seven stores. She is the author of This Red Fire, Young Nation, and Girls Who Wear Glasses. She prefers to live in the country and is a new aunt to a potential bookworm.

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