Salman Rushdie's Attack and Threaten to J. K. Rowling: Violent Censorship Around the World

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The Writer Salman Rushdie was the Victim of an Attack Motivated by Religious Fundamentalism. Other Authors Have also had to deal with Other Types of Attacks and Censorship Caused by Their Art or Activism.

Salman Rushdie and J.K. Rowling

Photo: Wikimedia-ActuaLitté, Flickr-Daniel Ogren

LatinAmerican Post | Julián Gómez

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Leer en español: Ataque a Salman Rushdie y amenaza a J. K. Rowling: Censura violenta en el mundo

For more than three decades, the writer Salman Rushdie had to dodge multiple threats to his life for his work. On August 13, the author was attacked by a 24-year-old while participating in an event in New York. The aggressor is already in the hands of the authorities and was identified as Hadi Matar. At the moment, the Iranian intellectual is recovering from the 10 stab wounds he suffered to his face, abdomen and neck.

Who is Salman Rushdie?

Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay (India) and during his adolescence he was sent to live in England. There he became interested in history and studied this career, from which he graduated with honors from the University of Cambridge.

Already with the title, he began to work as an advertising copywriter and later entered the world of literature. Although the writer began his career in 1975 with his first book entitled "Grimus", it was not until 1988 that he aroused global controversy and the fury of the Muslim community, although his family was a practitioner of Islam. Everything was motivated by the publication of his fourth novel, "The Satanic Verses".

Why was he persecuted?

Thousands of people belonging to the Muslim community felt attacked by the representation of the prophet Mohammed in "The Satanic Verses". For this reason, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the top leader of Iran at the time, offered a reward of almost 3 million dollars for the assassination of Salman Rushdie. This reward was suspended ten years later, and during that decade he was kept out of the public sphere with the help of the state.

Such was the hatred that aroused among Muslims that on February 12, 1989, five people died in Islamabad (Pakistan) while protesting against the publication of the book.

The last thing before the attack this Friday had been a warning that he was not going to participate in the Jaipur Literature Festival (India), because there was information that extremist groups wanted to assassinate him.

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Latin American writers who suffered attacks

Although the case of Salman Rusdie is more motivated by religious fundamentalism, in Latin America there have been murders, attacks and threats against great figures of literature, but most respond to a political cause.

In this area, the cases have been varied. There is that of the Salvadoran poet and activist Roque Dalton, who was assassinated by his comrades in the People's Revolutionary Army in May 1975 due to a discrepancy within the organization. There is also the case of Argentine Jordán Bruno Genta, a Catholic nationalist author who was assassinated by the Argentine ERP-22 guerrilla group. Finally, there is the Argentine writer and journalist Pirí Lugones, who was kidnapped and later murdered in 1977 by a commando group of the Navy during the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina.

Among European writers, the murder that stands out the most is that of Federico García Lorca, who in July 1936, on the eve of the Civil War in Spain, was shot. There are several hypotheses, and although the reason is not known for sure, it is said that he could have been shot for being a socialist, homosexual or Mason.

Outside the Hispanic literary world, we can refer to the death of the filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1975. This death is attributed to the fascism of the time that saw in his film "Saló" a threat. Not going further, there is also the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdó in 2015, when two Al-Qaeda terrorists broke in and killed 11 people from the media outlet.

What will follow?

Salman Rushdie's agent stated for several media outlets that the writer is now beginning an arduous road to recovery. For now, the official information is what his agent passes to the media. It is also known that the writer already gave his version for the investigation of the crime.

On the other hand, the famous writer J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter saga, has expressed her support for Rushdie. After this public show of support with a trill on Twitter, she has also received death threats. Scottish Police is in the midst of investigating this threat. The most famous and widely read writer in the world today has been threatened before for her feminist positions, which for some are trans-exclusive.

This medium regrets the attack on Salman Rushdie and hopes for his speedy recovery, as well as the cessation of violent acts of censorship in the world.