An Iranian ayatollah has reinstates a death sentence on novelist Salman Rushdie stemming from 1989, raising the bounty to $3.3m, claiming that the anti-Islam film 'Innocence of Muslims' which is linked with a wave of violent protests would never have been made if Rushdie was killed.
The timing is apt for Rushdie who is set to publish a memoir this week entitled 'Joseph Anton' which chronicles his years of hiding since the initial death sentence was first issued by the late Ayatollah Khomenei in 1989. The fatwa was withdrawn in 1998 by the reformist Iranian president Mohammad Khatami.
During that nine year period, the death sentence/fatwa was a response to Rushdie's book, 'The Satanic Verses' which Rushdie claims "would not be published now".
Earlier this month, a wave of attacks against US embassies (some fatal) have been attributed to a US-made anti-Islamic satire entitled 'Innocence of Muslims'.
While Rushdie was not involved in the production, he is deemed partially responsible in the eyes of the ayatollah who - according to The Telegraph - is the personal representative of Iran's Supreme Leader.
Regarding the film, Ayatollah Hassan Sanei released a statement: "The film won't be the last insulting act as long as Imam Khomeini's historic order on executing the blasphemous Salman Rushdie is not carried out.
"If the imam's order was carried out, the further insults in the form of caricatures, articles and films would not have taken place. The impertinence of the grudge-filled enemies of Islam, which is occurring under the flag of the Great Satan, America and the racist Zionists, can only be blocked by the absolute administration of this Islamic order."
The Ayatollah confirmed that the bounty on Rushdie's head was upped by $500,000 to $3.3m with immediate effect.
In an interview with The Guardian Rushdie blasts the film 'Innocence of Muslims' as "a malevolent piece of garbage".
He continues: "The civilised response would be to say of the director: 'F**k him. Let's get on with our day.' What's not civilised is to hold America responsible for everything that happens in its borders. That's crap. Even if that were true, to respond with physical attacks and believe it's OK to attack people because you're upset at this thing, that's an improper reaction. The Muslim world needs to get out of that mindset."
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