Iran has increased the bounty associated with the long-standing fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, adding $500,000 for a total of $3.3 million.
The fatwa – an authoritative religious decree of Islamic law essentially authorizing an individual's killing – against Rushdie, was issued by the Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 over "The Satanic Verses," which was decried in the Muslim world as blasphemous against the Prophet Muhammad.
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In 1998 Iran stated it is no longer pursuing Rushdie’s death; however, that decree was again reversed in early 2005 by the present theocrat, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
According to reports in the Iranian media, including the hardline Jomhoori Eslami daily and Press TV, the Ayatollah Sheikh Hassan Sane'ei, Caretaker of the 15th of Khordad Foundation, announced the bounty after he decreed that Rushdie's 1988 novel "served as an inspiration" to "Muslim Innocence" – an anti-Islam film which has sparked massive rage among Muslims worldwide.
Numerous, violent anti-US protests erupted in Muslim nations worldwide, including Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran and Libya; where they tragically lead the murder of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other members of the US diplomatic mission.
Riots also broke out in Israel, Australia, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
The News reported Sane'ei issued a statement saying that, "Unless Rushdie is killed… the movie offending the Prophet will not be the last contemptuous attempt… these days are the most appropriate time to carry it (Rushdie's murder) out."
According to the BBC the British Foreign Office has said the Iranian government does not back any bounty offer.
Over the course of the years since the fatwa was issued the15th of Khordad Foundation, a non-governmental organization, has increased the bounty on offer several times.
AP and AFP contributed to this report
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