(AFP) – Oct 1, 2008
LONDON (AFP) — Author Salman Rushdie has no regrets about writing "The Satanic Verses", he said in comments published Wednesday, 20 years after the release of the book which earned him an Islamic death threat.
Rushdie, who lived in hiding under police protection for nearly a decade, made the comments amid concern over an attack in London on the publisher of a controversial new book about the Prophet Mohammed.
The Indian-born writer said he would regret not having written a book taking on major religious and philosophical questions.
"The question I'm always asking myself is: are we masters or victims? Do we make history or does history make us? Do we shape the world or are we just shaped by it?" he said in an interview with Australian broadcaster Clive James.
"The question of do we have agency in our lives or whether we are just passive victims of events is, I think, a great question and one that I have always tried to ask.
"In that sense I wouldn't not have wanted to be the writer that asked it," he added, in comments published on James' website.
Rushdie, who was raised as a Sunni Muslim, has lived since 1989 under the shadow of an Iranian fatwa -- or religious decree -- calling for his death over his controversial book published the previous year.
Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini claimed the book insulted Islam. After nearly 10 years in hiding, Rushdie gradually re-emerged, eventually becoming a fixture on the international party circuit.
His comments come days after three men were arrested under anti-terrorism legislation over a fire at the London offices of the publisher of a novel about the Prophet Mohammed and his child bride.
"The Jewel of Medina" -- a fictional account of the Prophet's relationship with his youngest bride Aisha -- is by American author Sherry Jones, and published by Gibson Square, a firm known for having produced other controversial books, such as Alexander Litvinenko's "Blowing Up Russia".
US publisher Random House announced last month that it had cancelled publication of "The Jewel of Medina" in the United States, saying it had been informed by credible sources that the book could incite violence.
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