Also on This Day

In addition to Valentine’s Day, today is the 18th anniversary of the fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini, which called for the execution of Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses. In The Herald:

SALMAN Rushdie says he still receives a “sort of Valentine’s card” from Iran each year on February 14 letting him know the country has not forgotten the vow to kill him.

His comment came as the author of The Satanic Verses started a five-year appointment with Emory University, one day before the 18th anniversary of the death threat that catapulted him into worldwide fame.

Rushdie was forced into hiding for a decade after the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a 1989 fatwa, or opinion on Islamic law, ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie because the book allegedly insulted Islam.

In 1998, the Iranian government declared it would not support but could not rescind the fatwa. But the yearly notes continue. “It’s reached the point where it’s a piece of rhetoric rather than a real threat,” Rushdie said.

The 59-year-old Rushdie is also donating his archive to the university, including a diary of his decade in hiding and two early, unpublished novels.