The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie's fourth novel, first published in 1988 and inspired in part by the life of Muhammad. The title refers to the Satanic Verses, an attempted interpolation in the Qur'an described by Ibn Ishaq in his biography of Muhammad (the oldest surviving text). The authenticity of these Satanic verses has been disputed by the earliest Muslim historians.
The novel caused much controversy upon publication in 1988, as many Muslims considered that it contained blasphemous references. India was the first country to ban the book. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, a Shi'a Muslim scholar, issued a fatwa that called for the death of Rushdie and claimed that it was the duty of every Muslim to obey, despite never having read the book.
On February 14, 1989, the Ayatollah broadcast the following message on Iranian radio: "I inform the proud Muslim people of the world that the author of the Satanic Verses book, which is against Islam, the Prophet and the Qur'an, and all those involved in its publication who are aware of its content are sentenced to death."
As a result, Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese language translator of the book was stabbed to death
on July 11, 1991;
Ettore Capriolo, the Italian language translator, was seriously injured in a stabbing
the same month; and
William Nygaard, the publisher in Norway, survived an attempted assassination
in Oslo in October of 1993.
On February 14, 2006, the Iranian state news agency reported that the fatwa will remain in place permanently.
Religion of peace