London – Salman Rushdie has revealed that when Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced him to death, he thought that he was a “dead man.”
On Valentine’s Day 1989, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC reporter and told that the Ayatollah Khomeini had sentenced him to death by issuing a fatwa accusing his novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ of being slanderous, ridiculing Islam, the Prophet and the Quran.”
“It doesn’t feel good,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying, when asked how he felt.
What he actually thought was: “I’m a dead man.”
The 65-year-old British author was forced into hiding for more than a decade with ever-changing safe houses, constant armed guards and a new identity.
His alias, Joseph Anton, was made from a combination of the first names of two of his favourite writers – Conrad and Chekhov but to his bodyguards he was simply known as Joe.
“When I became free I was glad to end Joseph Anton’s existence and let Salman Rushdie live once again. It was a joyous moment,” he said.
“To walk without a guard, to go into a shop, to visit my family, to fly on a plane, all these things were at times impossible,” he added. Agencies
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