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Magazine Web Edition > May 1989 > Satanic Verses

Satanic Verses

A Chronology



His present (and understandable) claims to the contrary, Salman Rushdie probably always knew his novel. The Satanic Verses, would outrage Muslims. Still, neither he nor the world was ready for the fury unleashed by the followers of Islam in defense of their faith. The following is a brief chronological account of the events which have left 19 dead and 183 wounded.

* September 22, 1988: The Satanic Verses is published in England by Viking Penguin Inc. to critical acclaim and the Whitebread prize.

* October 20: Islamic Circle of North America pressures Viking Press to not publish book.

* January 14, 1989: 1,500 Muslims burn copy of book in Bradford, England. W.H. Smith and Sons Ltd. pulls books from its London stores.

* February 12: Six die and 83 are injured in Muslim demonstrations before the US Information Agency in Islamabad, Pakistan.

* February 13: One killed and 60 injured in police firing in riot in Srinagar, India.

* February 14: Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini decrees death sentence for Rushdie and a bounty which eventually reaches us $5.2 million. Rushdie denies in TV interview willfully provoking Muslims, then goes into hiding. Scotland Yard gives him police protection.

* February 18: Rushdie's apology to Muslims is rejected by Khomeini.

* February 21: US President George Bush calls death threat "deeply offensive to the norms of civilized behavior." Twelve members of European Community recall their ambassadors to Iran. Britain shuts down Embassy in Tehran.

* February 22: Official US publication date for book. Bookstores first pull, then restock book after severe criticism from the American press. Police open fire on 5,000 Muslim demonstrators in Bombay, killing 12, injuring 40.

* February 23: 3,000 American Muslims demonstrate at Viking Press New York offices.

* March 2: Book is number two on New York Times bestseller list.

* March 3: Reflecting moderate Muslim opinion, Malaysia's Selangor State Chief Minister Mohamed Taib says "Muslim intellectuals should counter [blasphemy] through knowledge and not through aggression."

* March 12: US newspaper fire-bombed after editorializing in favor of the author.

* March 29: Belgium's Muslim leader murdered five weeks after criticizing Kohmeni.

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.


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