Salman Rushdie reflects on 20-year-old fatwa

180px-Salman-Rushdie-1 February 14th marks the 20th anniversary of the Khomeini's fatwa calling for the death of Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses. [I may buy another copy to commemorate.] Hillel Italie in the AP:

The Ayatollah is long dead and Rushdie has stopped worrying about his safety, although the fatwa has never been withdrawn. On Sunday night, he questioned the accuracy of the Quran, used profanity when referring to Islamic leaders and bragged about once wearing a T-shirt that read, “Blasphemy is a Victimless Crime.”

But he believes that “a culture of offendedness,” in which any religious criticism is regarded as insensitive or even blasphemous, has intimidated others. Last year, Rushdie strongly criticized his own publisher, Random House, Inc., for pulling Sherry Jones' “The Jewel of Medina” over fears that the novel would set off violence. (“The Jewel of Medina,” about one of the Prophet Muhammad's wives, was released by Beaufort Books without major incident).

Calling himself an early victim of attempted censorship, Rushdie likened his place in history to a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's thriller, “The Birds.” He recalled a scene in which Tippi Hedren spotted a crow outside her window. Hedren paid little attention until she noticed hundreds more had arrived.

“I think I was the first crow,” Rushdie said.