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Monday, 25 March, 2002, 18:44 GMT
Rushdie angry at UK press
The author Salman Rushdie
Rushdie: Believes the press want to discredit him
Author Salman Rushdie has hit out at the UK press saying he believed some of his critics were disappointed he had not been assassinated under an Islamic death order.

The writer had faced a death threat contained in a fatwa issued in Iran in 1989, which said his book, the Satanic Verses, was blasphemous

These ambush writers are probably angry that I wasn't killed

Salman Rushdie
In an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel weekly, Rushdie said the press in the UK were out to discredit him.

He said: "Their (UK press) idea of journalism is to build up a target and then beat up on it.

"These ambush writers are probably angry that I wasn't killed.

"They are holding a grudge against me for surviving the fatwa and that I'm now leading a better life."

Since 1989 Rushdie has received round-the-clock protection as a result of the Iranian Government's fatwa.

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

Flying high

Rushdie told Der Spiegel that the cost of his protection before the fatwa was lifted was not as great as the reported 11m a year.

"It was a lot less. Moreover, during the time that I had to live in hiding, I paid British income tax," he said.

"If you compare that with the sums paid for police protection, then England still had a profit from me."

The author was recently in the headlines when Air Canada banned him from flying on their airplanes because of security fears.

Right-wing Muslims burned the Satanic Verses
Right-wing Muslims destroyed the Satanic Verses
The company had feared the extra security measures would result in long delays for other passengers, however it has since reversed its decision.

The fatwa against Rushdie was issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

As a result, the writer had to keep his whereabouts secret and he ended up living in 30 different locations in the UK over nine years.

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.

See also:

20 Mar 02 | Arts
Rushdie free to fly to Canada
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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