When translators of Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ were attacked, killed


Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses was murdered. William Nygaard and Ettore Capriolo, the Norwegian and Italian translators were separately attacked but survived

‘Satanic’ Killers: When translators of Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ were attacked, killed

Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’. Wikimedia Commons

Salman Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was attacked on 12 August, 2022, as he was about to give a lecture in western New York.

Hitoshi Igarashi, a Japanese scholar of Arabic and Persian literature and history, had translated Rushdie’s book The Satanist Verses. He was the first Japanese translator of the book.

A profound academician, Igarashi, had said in interviews that scholars can’t be worried about what will happen to them as a result of their work.

According to The Republic, Igarashi was found dead under mysterious circumstances in 1991. His death is as of yet unsolved.

William Nygaard, the Norwegian publisher of The Satanic Verses in Oslo, was shot on 11 October, 1993. He apparently survived the shooting.

The shooters were never caught.

Ettore Capriolo translated The Satanic Verses in Italian. He survived a knife assault, sustaining critical injuries on his neck, chest and hands.

Capriolo described his assailant to have been of an Iranian ethnicity, adding that the latter had wanted the translation of a Muslim pamphlet. The assailant had managed to escape.

Days later, the Italian law enforcement out ruled any connection between the assault to Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses.

Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it to be blasphemous. A year later, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death.

A bounty of over $3 million has also been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie.

Iran’s government has long since distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment has lingered. In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8 million to $3.3 million.

With inputs from agencies

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