Salman Rushdie timeline: The key events following Iran's fatwa against author

Salman Rushdie timeline: The key events following Iran’s fatwa against author

Indian-born novelist Salman Rushdie spent years in hiding after he was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his writing.

On Friday, Rushdie was attacked and apparently stabbed in the neck as he was about to give a lecture in western New York.

He is alive and still in surgery, according to state police.

Here is a timeline of all that followed the death edict — or fatwa — issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after the publication of Rushdie’s 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, which Khomeini deemed blasphemous to Islam.

A bounty of more than $US3 million has been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie.(AP: Rogelio V Solis)

Key events

February 12, 1989: At least six people are killed in the Pakistani city of Islamabad in shooting between police and gunmen in a crowd protesting against the sale of the novel in the United States.

february 14, 1989: The fatwa. Khomeini calls on all Muslims to kill Rushdie.

february 24, 1989: Twelve people are killed in Mumbai when police open fire to prevent a crowd of 10,000 protesters marching on the British High Commission.

May 27, 1989: Pro-Iranian and pro-Iraqi factions clash when some 30,000 Muslim demonstrators mass outside the British parliament.

September 14, 1989: Four bombs are planted outside bookshops in Britain owned by Penguin, publisher of The Satanic Verses.

July 3, 1991: Ettore Capriolo, Italian translator of The Satanic Verses, is beaten and attacked with a knife in his Milan flat by a man who says he is Iranian.

July 12, 1991: Japanese translator Hitoshi Igarashi is stabbed to death in Tokyo by an attacker who flees.

September 7, 1995: After six years under police protection and living in safe houses, Rushdie appears in London in his first pre-announced public appearance since the fatwa was issued.

February 12, 1997: Eight years after it first offered a reward, the Iranian revolutionary 15th Khordad Foundation increases the bounty on Rushdie’s head to $US2.5 million ($3.5 million).

September 22, 1998: Iranian president Mohammad Khatami says the Rushdie affair is “completely finished.”

September 24, 1998: Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi tells British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook at the United Nations in New York that Iran will take no action to threaten Rushdie’s life, nor encourage anyone else to do so.

September 28, 1998: Iranian media say three Iranian clerics have called on Islamic followers to kill Rushdie under the fatwa.

October 4, 1998: Some 160 members of the Iranian parliament say the death decree against Rushdie remains valid.

October 10, 1998: A hardline Iranian student group sets a one billion rial (then $US333,000) bounty on the head of Rushdie.

October 12, 1998: A state-linked Iranian religious foundation raises its $US2.5 million bounty by $US300,000.

February 3, 1999: Mumbai-born Rushdie is granted a visa by the Indian government to visit his country of birth, triggering protests by Muslims.

June 15, 2007: Rushdie is awarded a knighthood by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth for services to literature, prompting diplomatic protests from Pakistan and Iran and demonstrations in Pakistan and Malaysia.

January 20, 2012: Rushdie cancels plans to attend a major literature festival in Jaipur, India, after protests from some Indian Muslim groups.

September 16, 2012: An Iranian religious foundation raises its bounty for killing Rushdie to $US3.3 million.

June 20, 2014: Rushdie wins annual PEN/Pinter Prize for his support for freedom of speech and what judges call his generous help to other writers.

October 13, 2015: Rushdie warns of new dangers to freedom of speech in the West amid tight security at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The Iranian Ministry of Culture canceled its national stand at the fair because of Rushdie’s appearance of him.

February 22, 2016: Iranian state-run media outlets add $US600,000 to a bounty for the killing of Rushdie.

June 1, 2022: Rushdie is made a Companion of Honor in the British Queen’s annual birthday honours.

August 12, 2022: Rushdie is attacked on stage at a literary event in Chautauqua, western New York state, and is flown by helicopter to a local hospital for treatment.