TEHRAN: An Iranian foundation has reportedly increased a bounty for the death of Salman Rushdie, saying if the British writer had previously been killed for blasphemy, an anti-Islam film currently enraging Muslims would never have been made.
Iranian media quoted Hassan Sanei, a cleric heading the 15 of Khordad Foundation, as saying he was “adding another $500,000 to the reward for killing Rushdie.”
With the increase, the foundation is now offering $3.3 million for the death of Rushdie, who since 1989 has been the target of an Iranian fatwa calling for his murder for allegedly blaspheming Islam and the Prophet Mohammad in his book “The Satanic Verses.”
The foundation’s statement said that, unless Rushdie were killed, “the movie offending the Prophet will not be the last contemptuous attempt,” adding, “these days are the most appropriate time to carry it out.”
Violent protests erupted this week in several Muslim countries against the American-made movie, which crudely lampoons Prophet Mohammad and associates him with sexual deviancy. Devout Muslims consider it blasphemous to depict the Prophet in any way.
Indian-born Rushdie, 65, spent a decade in hiding after Iran’s spiritual leader, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued the 1989 fatwa against him for his book.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 17, 2012, on page 16.