#VelshiBannedBookClub: Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses”

While millions know Salman Rushdie’s name – many have never read his most controversial novel “The Satanic Verses”, including the two men who were, allegedly, willing to kill him over it. Rushdie’s accused assailant reportedly only read two pages of the book, and the late fundamentalist leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued a fatwa against Rushdie -- an edict for his killing -- allegedly never read it at all. Despite a literal interpretation by some Islamic fundamentalists, “The Satanic Verses” is far from a direct commentary on Islam – it grapples with identity, modernity, and conformity. Centrally, it focuses on alienation and the plight of an immigrant. Today, the book and Rushdie himself have become a beacon for free speech and freedom of expression. “Fundamentally, the novel is about the right to change,” his friend and colleague Homi Bhaba tells Ali Velshi.