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Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Koran is not very enjoyable, says Author Salman Rushdie

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 11:51
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He spent more than a decade in hiding after his 'blasphemous' novel led a Muslim leader to put a price on his head.

But almost 30 years after writing The Satanic Verses, Sir Salman Rushdie has risked angering Islamists again by saying he could not face reading the 'unenjoyable' Koran.

Asked if Islam's central text should be edited to make the religion seem 'more humane', the Man Booker prize winner replied: 'Editing the Koran seems like a mug's game.

'It's not a very enjoyable book because most of it is not narrative.

'The big difference between the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran is that the Koran has the least narrative of them.

'Only about a quarter of the book is stories. 

'A third of the book is fulminations against the unbeliever and how they will rot in hell. Another third of the book is laws, how you should behave.

'So no I wouldn't edit it because then I'd have to read it, and I don't want to do that.'

Sir Salman, who was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival at the weekend, added that he thinks the world would be a better place without any religion 'because it is an absurdity that gets people killed.'

The 70-year-old spent years living under 24-hour police protection after the publication of his 1988 novel, which was inspired in part by the life of the Prophet Mohammed.

It provoked protests across the world from outraged Muslims who claimed it insulted the prophet and accused Sir Salman of mocking their faith.

The row culminated in February 1989 with Sir Salman being condemned to death by Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued a fatwa – a legal pronouncement by an expert in religious law – calling for his execution.

He offered a million US dollars to anyone who would murder the author.

Sir Salman later blamed the presence of his police guards – part of one of Britain's most costly and elaborate protection operations – for the breakdown of his marriage to American author Marianne Wiggins.

Though he issued an apology in Iran in 1990 – which was rejected – Sir Salman later condemned Islamic fundamentalism as a 'project of tyranny and unreason which wishes to freeze a certain view of Islamic culture in time'.

During his appearance at the literary festival, Sir Salman, whose latest novel The Golden House is set in his home city of New York, also commented on the presidency of Donald Trump.

The Indian-born writer said: 'There is a lot of us who were worried about the travel ban and America is a difficult country to get in and out of if you come from certain places or have certain types of ethnicity. [But] They can't stop me now because I have got a passport – and New York is not Trumpistan.'

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