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UK: Salman Rushdie attack 'a reminder of the importance of freedom of expression'

Responding to the violent attack on writer Salman Rushdie in New York on Friday, Sacha Deshmukh, CEO of Amnesty International UK, said:

“The attack on Sir Salman Rushdie is a reminder of the importance of freedom of expression, but also the constant fragility of that right if we do not stand together in its defence. 

"Our thoughts are with Salman Rushdie and his family.”

Thirty years of fear

Novelist Salman Rushdie has lived under a fatwa for more than 30 years, since Iran issued one in response to his controversial book "The Satanic Verses".

A fatwa is a legal pronouncement by an Islamic legal scholar, or mufti, who can issue a judgement on any matter that relates to the religion of Islam

In 1989, Iran’s religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini declared a fatwa against Rushdie for mocking the religion of Islam and the Prophet Muhammed. He called on "all brave Muslims" to kill the writer and those who helped translate and sell the book to the masses. A $3m (£2.5) bounty was attached to the fatwa.

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