Religious Leader Says Innocence of Muslims Would Not Have Been Made if Salman Rushdie Had Been Killed

It's been a while since a militant Muslim leader called for the death of Salman Rushdie — too long if you ask Ayatollah Hassan Sanei.

The religious leader believes that the riot-inducing Innocence of Muslims would never have been made if Rushdie had been killed back when Ayatollah Khomeini demanded it.

Khomeini issued a fatwa against Rushdie in 1989 after the publication of the "blasphemous" novel The Satanic Verses. But Rushdie is alive and kicking — and Sanei believes that's why anyone had the gall to make an anti-Islam propaganda flick.

In a statement, Sanei wrote—

It [the film] won't be the last insulting act as long as Imam Khomeini's historic order on executing the blasphemous Salman Rushdie is not carried out. If the imam's order was carried out, the further insults in the form of caricatures, articles and films would not have taken place. The impertinence of the grudge-filled enemies of Islam, which is occurring under the flag of the Great Satan, America and the racist Zionists, can only be blocked by the absolute administration of this Islamic order.

The statement appears to be sanctioned by Iran. Sanei is the personal representative of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

And to add a little incentive, Sanei is putting up another $500,000 for the bounty on Rushdie's head, bringing the total up to $3.3 million.

While the fatwa was never annulled, it was declared "completely finished" by Iran's reformist president Mohammad Khatami in 1998. Now under Ayatollah Khameini, it's apparently very much back on.

[Image via AP]