French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo slams Rushdie stabbing

British author Salman Rushdie had spent years in hiding after an Iranian fatwa ordered his killing. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose 12 staff members were gunned down in 2015 over cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad considered blasphemous by many Muslims, said Saturday (Aug 13) that nothing justified the stabbing of celebrated British author Salman Rushdie.

Mr Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after an Iranian fatwa ordered his killing, was on a ventilator following a stabbing attack at a literary event in New York state on Friday.

"Nothing justifies a fatwa, a death sentence," Charlie Hebdo said. "At the time we are writing these lines, we do not know the motives" of the attacker, it said, speculating ironically whether it was spurred by global warming, the decline in purchasing power or a ban on watering potted plants during the current heatwave.

The magazine's managing editor, known as Riss and a survivor of the 2015 attack, said the Rushdie assailant was probably a practicising Muslim and slammed the "little and mediocre spiritual heads who are intellectually nil and culturally ignorant".

Mr Rushdie's 1988 book The Satanic Verses transformed his life when Iran's first supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or religious decree, ordering his killing.

The novel was considered by some Muslims as disrespectful of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.

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