London, April 15: Britain’s Prince Charles turned his back on author Salman Rushdie during the fatwa over publication of ‘The Satanic Verses’ as he believed the book was offensive to Muslims, a novelist has revealed.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, author Martin Amis has claimed that the Prince’s views caused a row at a dinner party after Rushdie was issued with the death sentence by Islamic clerics in 1989.
Amis claims that Charles told him that he would not offer support “if someone insults someone else’s deepest convictions”, the Independent reported Tuesday.
Though Amis tried to remonstrate with him, the Prince offered little beyond insisting he would “take it on board”.
Rushdie went into hiding for a decade after Iran’s late spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 calling for the author’s assassination.
The Iranian government distanced itself from the fatwa a decade later, declaring that it would not support the edict, but could not rescind it either.
The Vanity Fair article features Rushdie’s friends and literary colleagues and tells the inside story of the controversy. “I had an argument with Prince Charles at a small dinner party,” Amis said.
“And I said that a novel doesn’t set out to insult anyone: ‘It sets out to give pleasure to its readers,’ I told him. A novel is an essentially playful undertaking, and this is an exceedingly playful novel.”
Charles did not agree.