Durban author attacked for praising Rushdie

2015-03-22 09:32
Salman Rushdie (Photo: AP)

Salman Rushdie (Photo: AP)

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Durban - A Durban author Zainub Priya Dala was assaulted at knife-point and called “Rushdie’s bitch” after publically praising the British author’s writing style.

According to the Sunday Times, Dala was attacked after being forced off the road in her car in Overport, in Durban, on Wednesday.  

Three men allegedly followed her before forcing her to stop at a taxi rank. One walked to her open window and held a knife to her throat. He called her “Rushie’s bitch” and then hit her over the head with a brick.

After hearing of the attack, Salman Rushdie took to Twitter and described the attack on Dala as appalling and disgraceful.

Teachers, pupils walk out of discussion panel

The attacks came after Dala was asked at a book festival in Chatsworth whose writing style she admired. She named Rushdie among a number of authors.

Event organiser Tiny Mungwe said that Dala had been part of a discussion panel when she mentioned Rushdie. After mentioning his name a group of teachers and learners walked out.

He said the group didn’t say anything but the conclusion was they had been offended.

Rushdie, author of The Satanic Versus,  has lived under death threats for many years.

The Satanic Verses, published in 1988, was his fourth novel and was at the centre of a major controversy, provoking protests from Muslims in several countries.

Death threats were made against him, including a fatwa calling for his assassination issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, in 1989.

As a result he was put under police protection by the British government.

In 2012, News24 reported that a semi-official religious foundation in Iran increased a reward it had offered for the killing of Rushdie to $3.3m from $2.8m.

‘Blasphemous’ novel

The report said the 15 Khordad Foundation will pay the higher reward to whoever acts on the 1989 fatwa, or religious edict, issued by Khomeini, which called for the death of the author because the novel was considered blasphemous.

"As long as the exalted Imam Khomeini's historical fatwa against apostate Rushdie is not carried out, it won't be the last insult. If the fatwa had been carried out, later insults in the form of caricature, articles and films that have continued would have not happened," the paper quoted Saneii as saying.
Iran's hardliners say Khomeini's fatwa is "irrevocable".

In 1998, the Iranian government declared it would not support the fatwa, but at the same time the government said it could not rescind the edict, since under Islamic law, that could be done only by the person who issued it. Khomeini died in June 1989.

Khomeini's fatwa sent Rushdie into hiding under police protection, but that didn't stop him from writing more novels. In 1990, he published an apology and reiterated his respect for Islam.

Read more on:    salman rushdie  |  durban  |  books  |  crime

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