TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani on Monday welcomed a decision by the country’s ministry of culture to cancel plans for a national stand in this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair over the presence of the apostate writer, Salman Rushdie.
Addressing a meeting of high-ranking judiciary officials in Tehran, Ayatollah Amoli Larijani said the decision by Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati to boycott the Frankfurt Book Fair was a proper response to the West.
“Inviting a debauched and apostate person such as Salam Rushdie to this exhibition was a disrespect to (all) Muslims,” Ayatollah Amoli Larijani stated.
The Islamic Republic of Iran boycotted this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair after organizers of the event refused to reconsider their decision to invite Rushdie to make a speech at the event.
Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, on Monday defended the presence of Rushdie at the event, saying, “We feel a strong politicization this year and freedom of expression will be a key theme.”
Iran had earlier stressed in a letter to the organizers of the exhibition that it will not participate in the event if Rushdie appears at a news conference ahead of the annual fair’s opening.
“When we learned of the presence of Salman Rushdie at the book fair in Frankfurt, we sent a letter of protest and called on other Muslim countries to do the same,” Iran’s Deputy Culture Minister Abbas Salehi had said on October 6.
“In the coming days, we will try to convince the leaders of the fair to change their mind. We will seriously consider not participating (if they stick to their decision).”
The British Indian novelist and writer was sentenced to death by Imam Khomeini for insulting Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, which was written in 1988 and sparked global protests by Muslims around the world.
The 67th Frankfurt Book Fair is slated to be held in the German city from October 14 to 18, 2015.