Literary legend Salman Rushdie is in Toronto, the guest of honour at tonight’s PEN Canada Gala Dinner.
The dinner will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rushdie emerging from hiding to attend a PEN Canada dinner. He was the subject of a fatwa, calling for his death, that was issued in 1989 by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini following the publication of Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses.”
The Satanic Verses controversy, also known as the Rushdie Affair, was the heated and frequently violent reaction of Muslims to the book’s publication. Many Muslims accused Rushdie of blasphemy. The Iranian Government now says it it no longer supports Rushdie’s killing but the fatwa remains in place.
Funds raised at tonight’s dinner will make it possible for PEN Canada to continue to support writers-in-peril and to defend freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.