FILE PHOTO: Author Salman Rushdie listens during the opening news conference of the Frankfurt book fair, Germany October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski//File Photo

The International Literature Festival in Berlin is calling for a worldwide reading for the writer Salman Rushdie. The author was attacked last week and seriously injured. “The assassination attempt on Salman Rushdie is still deep in our bones,” said festival director Ulrich Schreiber on Wednesday. The festival is now calling for readings from Rushdie’s works on September 29th. The readings could take place anywhere – for example in cafés, parks or the subway, but also privately in small groups.

“By reading his novels and essays, freedom-loving people all over the world can send a signal that they will not be intimidated by threats of violence and will not bow to any attempt to suppress or erase thoughts in word, writing and pictures,” it said numerous writers signed the appeal.

It is aimed at individuals, schools, universities, cultural institutions and the media alike. In addition to the novel “The Satanic Verses”, which led to a call for murder by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989, books such as “Midnight Children”, “Joseph Anton”, “Languages ​​of Truth” or “Victory City” can also be recited.

“Even if the concrete background to the assassination and the motive of the perpetrator have not yet been clarified, it seems clear what they probably go back to: the fatwa that the Iranian ‘revolutionary leader’ Ayatollah Khomeini issued against Rushdie in 1989,” the appeal said . “To date, the Iranian regime has not withdrawn the call for the author’s assassination or the bounty it placed on his head at the time. The major media in Iran are currently applauding the assassin.”

The assumption that Rushdie was no longer in danger more than three decades after the fatwa was “shockingly proven fallacious by the bloody assassination in New York.”

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For the undersigned, the assassination represents a general problem. “It makes it clear that the threat to elementary human rights and freedoms is virulent,” it said. “The attack on Rushdie comes at a time when the democratic world is being pushed onto the defensive by increasingly aggressive authoritarian powers of all kinds, unless – as in Ukraine – it is being overwhelmed by open warfare and an incredible level of violence, death and destruction “, it said further. “It is therefore urgently necessary to stand up resolutely and defend justice and human dignity.”

The author Madame Nielsen suggests carrying “The Satanic Verses” everywhere in public space until September 29 – “that we open and read the book everywhere, in cafes, parks and the subway,” said festival director Schreiber With.