No Satanic Verses reading in mosque, Islamic group says to maverick author

26th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

26 September 2007, Cologne, Germany (dpa) - Islamic authorities in Germany said they had ended talks with a maverick German author who wanted to read aloud Salman Rushdie's controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, inside a mosque. Guenter Wallraff, 64, announced in July that he was seeking an invitation from Ditib, an Ankara-funded foundation which maintains Turkish-speaking mosques in many German cities, to conduct the reading in Cologne. The 1988 novel by Rushdie, offspring of an Indian Muslim family, is

26 September 2007

Cologne, Germany (dpa) - Islamic authorities in Germany said they had ended talks with a maverick German author who wanted to read aloud Salman Rushdie's controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, inside a mosque.

Guenter Wallraff, 64, announced in July that he was seeking an invitation from Ditib, an Ankara-funded foundation which maintains Turkish-speaking mosques in many German cities, to conduct the reading in Cologne.

The 1988 novel by Rushdie, offspring of an Indian Muslim family, is considered blasphemous by many Muslims because of its portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed.

Ditib officials in Cologne said they had discussed the proposal with Wallraff until two weeks ago, but negotiations failed because Wallraff was unwilling to compromise.

"He lacks understanding for the feelings and needs of members of our Muslim community," said a spokesman, without detailing what Ditib had proposed to Wallraff.

The confident Muslim community in the city has been fighting this year for a permit to build a grand mosque.

Wallraff, a leftist gadfly who won fame with undercover journalism exploits, said Tuesday he would travel to Ankara in late October or early November and appeal to Ditib officials there to overrule the rejection.

"I don't give up that easily," he said, adding that he had received anonymous death threats from extremist Muslims and on an Islamist website after announcing his proposal.

"Almost all those I have spoken to in Turkish community support me," said Wallraff. "I even offered to do the reading outside in the car park."

He added, "I have read the book aloud at home to Muslims and they actually laughed at parts that didn't mean anything to me. You can see that this book's place is in a Muslim context."

Rushdie, who stayed in Wallraff's apartment during visits to Cologne in the 1990s, was put under police protection after the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran called in 1989 for him to be killed.

DPA

Subject: German news

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