Prince Charles refused to support Sir Salman Rushdie during the British-Indian author’s fatwa because the heir to the throne believed Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ was offensive to Muslims, author Martin Amis claims.
Amis – the best-selling author of ‘Money’ and ‘London Fields’ and a close friend of Rushdie – told Vanity Fair Magazine that the Prince once told Rushdie during a dinner party that he wouldn’t support someone who “insults someone else’s deepest convictions”.
Rushdie was issued with a death sentence in 1989 by the late Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini following the publication of ‘The Satanic Verses’ due to the book’s irreverent depiction of the Prophet Muhammed.
Amis adds that he attempted to speak to Prince Charles about the matter, telling him that a novel doesn’t set out to insult anyone. While he says that the Prince “took it on board”, Charles’ resentment lingered.
Whilst the Fatwa is still technically valid, the Iranian government has distanced itself from the order since the late 1990’s.
The Vanity Article article marks 25 years since the issuing of the fatwa.
The magazine drew together a host of authors including Stephen King, Ian McEwan, Martin Amis as well as book editors from Viking and Penguin publishers to speak about their experiences of the time.
Bombs exploded in bookshops in the U.S. and the U.K.; the book’s Japanese translator was shot and killed, its Italian translator was stabbed, its Turkish translator was attacked, its Norwegian publisher was shot, and two clerics in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia who spoke out against the fatwa were shot and killed.
According to the article, Stephen King went so far as to intervene on Rushdie’s behalf when a number of bookstores in the U.S. announced plans not to sell the book or to remove it from their shelves.
Ian McEwan meanwhile recalls the “fear” that pervaded meetings with Rushdie.