Controversial author Salman Rushdie’s proposed visit to India has kicked up a row, as an influential Islamic seminary demanded the government block his trip for hurting the sentiments of Muslims.
Sixty-five-year-old Rushdie, who mocked Islam and the Prophet in his 1988 novel ‘The Satanic Verses’, is scheduled to attend a literary festival in India this month end. Reports say pressure is mounting on New Delhi to stop Rushdie from landing on Indian soil after the rector of Darul Uloom Deoband, a 150-year-old seminary, slammed the government’s decision to allow the Booker-prize winning author to participate in the Jaipur Literature Festival between the 20th and 24th of January.
“Indian government should cancel his visa as Rushdie had annoyed the religious sentiments of Muslims in the past,” Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, the vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband, said in a statement on January 9. “I have written to the Muslim bodies to come forward and oppose the visit of Rushdie, who writes even against Prophet Mohammad. We are also sending a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to prevent Rushdie from coming,” Nomani said.
Another prominent cleric Maulana Khalid Rashid told Reuters, “India is a country where the sentiments of each community and caste are respected, and therefore such a man should not be permitted to come to the country.”