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February 15, 2003

Iran Hard-Liners: Death to Rushdie, Again

Thought these imbeciles had let this issue go away? Not so.
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have renewed a call to kill Salman Rushdie, whom Iran condemned to death 14 years ago for allegedly insulting Islam in a prize-winning novel.

The hard-line Guards, Iran's main fighting force, said in a statement that the fatwa - or Islamic edict - issued by the late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was "irrevocable," the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported late Friday.

Khomeini issued the fatwa against Rushdie on Feb. 14, 1989, ordering Muslims to kill the novelist because he had allegedly insulted Islam in his best-selling novel, "The Satanic Verses."

In 1998, the Iranian government declared it would not support the fatwa, but at the same time the government said it could not rescind the edict as, under Islamic law, that could be done only by the person who issued it. Khomeini died in June 1989.

The news agency quoted the Guards as saying "Khomeini's historical edict on Salman Rushdie is irrevocable and nothing can change it." The Revolutionary Guards are seen to be loyal to hard-liners inside Iran's Islamic government.

Reformist and independent newspapers ignored the 14th anniversary of the death sentence this week, while few extremist hard-line papers gave it prominent coverage.[more]