Recently an Iran-inspired jihadist attempted to murder author Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed ten times and remains in critical condition. The origins of this crime go back to 1989, when the leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa that promised millions of dollars (eventually $3.3 million), instant martyrdom, and a trip to paradise for anyone killed while murdering the apostate Rushdie, who allegedly insulted Islam in his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses.
The subsequent response of the West to this grotesque violation of free speech exemplified the willful blindness to jihad that would characterize the Nineties and continue even after the spectacular carnage of the 9/11attacks. Given the persistence of the EU and the Biden administration in offering appeasing concessions to Iran in their desperate attempt to restart the failed nuclear deal, our foreign policy establishment is still blind to the reality of the West’s oldest enemy.
Khomeini’s fatwa didn’t just mark Rushdie for assassination, but included the publishers of the novel and bookstores selling it: all “are condemned to death. I call on all valiant Muslims wherever they may be in the world to kill them without delay, so that no one will dare insult the sacred beliefs of Muslims henceforth. And whoever is killed in this cause will be a martyr.”
Iran’s current leader, Ali Khamenei, in 2017 confirmed the fatwa: “The decree is as Imam Khomeini issued.”
The faithful responded to the fatwa’s call, initiating a series of deadly attacks across the globe. The same year as the fatwa, 12 people died in Mumbai, and 6 Pakistanis in riots over the book. The translator of the novel in Japan was murdered, and the Italian translator stabbed. The Turkish translator survived an arson attack on a hotel that killed 37 others, and the Norwegian publisher was shot and critically injured.