The price on Salman Rushdie’s head has gone up to about $3.3 million, but the author of the novel “The Satanic Verses” doesn’t seem terribly worried.
“I’m not inclined to magnify this ugly bit of headline grabbing by paying it much attention,” he tells the Los Angeles Times through his publisher.
Hassan Sanei, who heads the religious organization behind the standing bounty, reportedly says in a statement, “I am adding another $500,000 to the reward for killing Salman Rushdie, and anyone who carries out this sentence will receive the whole amount immediately.”
According to Reuters, the bounty was increased in response to the video “Innocence of Muslims,” which mocks the Prophet Mohammad and has sparked violent protests in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere. Rushdie calls the film “idiotic … a piece of garbage,” additionally condemning the protests as “an ugly reaction that needs to be named as such.”
Rushdie’s upcoming memoir, “Joseph Anton,” details his experience living under the 1989 fatwa issued by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who declared “The Satanic Verses” offensive to Islam. Iranian authorities said in 1998 that the fatwa was no longer being pursued, but religious extremists pressed on with the bounty.