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Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeni was the architect of the Iranian revolution and the guiding spirit of the Iranian regime that has held sway since 1979. He was the regime’s Supreme Leader. Ayatollah Ali Khameni is his successor.
Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses was published in September 1988. A few months later, on February 14, 1989, Khomeni issued a fatwa proclaiming a death sentence on Rushdie “and all those involved in [the] publication [of the novel] who were aware of its content.”
As everyone knows, Rushdie lived in hiding for years. His memoir Joseph Anton (2013) recounts the devastating impact of Khomeni’s fatwa on his life. Benjamin Balint’s excellent Claremont Review of Books review is not accessible at the moment, but our friends at the CRB are working on it.
In the wake of Khomeni’s fatwa, and understanding its significance, Daniel Pipes immediately set to work on The Rushdie Affair: The Novel, The Ayatollah, and the West (1990). Referring to “Khomeni and his ilk,” Pipes concludes the book with these words: “The West has to make it clear that the fundamentalist Muslims will gain nothing through threats and intimidation.”
A funny thing happened on its way to publication by Basic Books. Basic Books canceled its contract with Pipes and let him keep the advance. Pipes includes Edwin McDowell’s brief New York Times Book Notes story on the cancelation in an appendix.
The long arm of Khomeni’s fatwa reached out to strike Rushdie down before his talk lauding free speech at the Chautauqua Institution in New York yesterday. Today comes news that Rushdie is severely injured and on a ventilator. The AP story on the events is posted here.
The perpetrator was immediately apprehended. See Michael Doran’s tweet on the perpetrator below.
It is a humiliating and appalling abomination that this attack occurred on American soil. What is to be done? Doran reasonably anticipates the worst from Joe Biden’s clown-car administration.