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Wednesday, 20 March, 2002, 14:15 GMT
Rushdie free to fly to Canada
Salman Rushdie has faced death threats since 1989
Salman Rushdie has faced death threats since 1989
An airline which banned author Salman Rushdie from flying over security fears has reversed its decision.

The writer has been under a death threat from right-wing Muslims after he published the Satanic Verses in 1989.

Air Canada feared the extra security measures would result in long delays for other passengers.

He is very, very relieved that it's resolved

Rushdie's Canadian publishers
The airline's spokeswoman Laura Cooke confirmed the company's u-turn.

She said: "After further consultation with US and Canadian authorities, we have updated our position and will accept Mr Rushdie for travel on Air Canada."

Air Canada had said it barred the author in response to a US Federal Aviation Administration directive issued after 11 September calling for all airlines flying to the US to adopt certain security measures when Rushdie was on board.

However his Canadian publisher, Knopf Canada, said that directive was ended in January.


Knopf spokeswoman Kelly Duffin said the author was glad about the turnaround.

British Airways ended its ban in 1998
British Airways ended its ban in 1998
She said: "He is very, very relieved that it's resolved. Obviously it's a personal matter to him and was hurtful on many fronts."

Since 1989 Rushdie has received round-the-clock security protection as a result of a fatwa issued by the Iranian Government.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued the edict, claiming the Satanic Verses was blasphemous.

Although that has now been lifted, extremist groups there still say they want to kill him.

British Airways lifted its ban on Mr Rushdie flying on its planes in 1998.

With the current Iranian government distancing itself from the fatwa in 1998, Rushdie has appeared in public more frequently recent years and even appeared in the hit movie Bridget Jones's Diary.

Rushdie had been hoping to go to Canada in the autumn if a book tour could be arranged.

See also:

19 Mar 02 | Americas
Airline bans author Rushdie
14 Apr 00 | South Asia
Rushdie delight at India visit
13 Feb 00 | Middle East
Rushdie death sentence reaffirmed
29 Dec 99 | Media reports
Full text: Kidneys for Rushdie's head
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