An Iranian foundation has increased a bounty for the death of Salman Rushdie, AFP reported on Sunday.
The foundation has reportedly said that if the British writer had previously been killed for blasphemy, an anti-Islam film currently enraging Muslims would never have been made.
Iranian media quoted Hassan Sane'i, a cleric heading the 15 of Khordad Foundation, as saying in a statement that he was “adding another $500,000 to the reward for killing Rushdie.”
With the increase, the foundation was now offering $3.3 million for the death of Rushdie, who since 1989 has been the target of a Iranian fatwa calling for his murder for allegedly blaspheming Islam and its prophet Mohammed in his book "The Satanic Verses."
The foundation's statement was quoted saying that, unless Rushdie were killed, "the movie offending the prophet will not be the last contemptuous attempt."
It added that "these days are the most appropriate time to carry it (Rushdie's murder) out."
Violent protests erupted this week in several Muslim countries against the American-made movie, “The Innocence of Muslims”.
Indian-born Rushdie, 65, spent a decade in hiding after Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued the 1989 fatwa against him for his book.
Although Iran's foreign ministry in 1998 assured Britain that Iran would do nothing to implement the fatwa, current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in January 2005 reaffirmed in a message carried by the official IRNA news agency that Rushdie was considered an apostate whose murder was authorized under Islam.
One of the men who allegedly made the anti-Muslim film trailer was taken in for questioning over the weekend by federal probation officers. He was not placed under arrest, but Nakoula Basseley Nakoul, 55, was questioned by the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s station in his home town of Cerritos.
However, a YouTube spokesperson has said the video “is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube.”
The spokesperson added, however, that the site restricted access in Libya and Egypt because of the unrest. “We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions. This can be a challenge because what’s OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere,” the spokesperson said.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)