[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 30 September, 2004, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Rushdie anger over 'snooping' law
Padma Lakshmi and Salman Rushdie
Rushdie married Indian actress Padma Lakshmi in April
Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie has called on Congress to remove anti-terror laws which allow US officials to monitor citizens' reading habits.

Rushdie, 56, said he was concerned by government bodies "noseying into what should be personal creative space".

He presented a 180,000-name petition asking Congress to repeal portions of the Patriot Act which give access to book-buying and library records.

Campaigners argue the act, passed after 11 September, harms personal freedoms.

Condemned to death

Rushdie was one of several speakers at the House of Representatives in Washington to call for legislation "protecting our freedom of expression".

He said there was "absolutely no security reason" to justify the government scrutinising people's reading habits.

The Indian-born writer, who is president of the US writers' advocacy group Pen American Center, spoke of his own experience of censorship.

He went into hiding in the 1980s after Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa for "insulting Islam" in The Satanic Verses.


He married Indian actress Padma Lakshmi in a ceremony in New York in April.

Rushdie and fellow campaigners hope Congress will support a "Freedom to Read Protection Act", which would overturn section 215 of the Patriot Act.

The anti-terror laws allows the authorities to trawl through people's internet and phone use, as well checking their library borrowing and shopping records.

The signatures for the petition were collected in libraries and book shops across the US.

Author Rushdie weds Indian star
19 Apr 04  |  Entertainment
Rushdie writes script for partner
15 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
Iran 'renews' Rushdie death sentence
15 Feb 03  |  Middle East
Rushdie angry at UK press
25 Mar 02  |  Entertainment
Airline bans author Rushdie
19 Mar 02  |  Americas

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific