Sales of Salman Rushdie's 1988 The Satanic Verses have skyrocketed after its author was stabbed Friday in New York State by a young American of Lebanese origin, who has been charged with attempted murder.
The Muslim community found the book offensive and banned it in many countries. Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's death and offering a US$ 3 million bounty, forcing the author to go into hiding for years.
The work topped the list of best-selling books Tuesday in the Contemporary Literature and Fiction section and was 27th on an e-commerce platform.
The India-born Rushdie, 75, gradually left his isolating after settling in New York in 2000. But on Friday he was attacked during a literary conference in the town of Chautauqua. He was stabbed several times and is still in hospital. He suffered serious damage to his liver, an arm, and an eye, but was removed from life support.
While Rushdie has been since 1989 under a religious death sentence, other people involved in the release of his book were less fortunate. Two of its translators were also attacked, one of them fatally.
Hitoshi Igarashi, an associate professor at the University of Tsukuba, who had translated Salman Rushdie's book into Japanese, had completed his PhD in Islamic art at the University of Tokyo in 1976. Three years later, he trained at the Royal Academy of Philosophy of Iran (Tehran) at the invitation of the shah, who was overthrown by Khomeini that year. Igarashi had been a professor of History of Civilization, specializing in Islam, at the University of Tsukuba since 1987.
I agreed to translate the novel because I consider it has value as a work of art, Igarashi said after accepting the job at the request of literary agent Gianni Palma. Igarashi's version was published in 1990 in Japan despite protests from the Muslim community in that country.
On July 12, 1991, the 44-year-old professor was stabbed to death at the University of Tsukuba, 60 kilometers north of Tokyo. Rushdie immediately sent his condolences.