On February 14, 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwā against Salman Rushdie, calling for the assassination of the British Indian author of The Satanic Verses. Seeing as Rushdie is still alive, it didn’t go so well.
Now a state-sponsored Iranian student organisation plans on correcting that oversight with The Stressful Life of Salman Rushdie and Implementation of his Verdict, a video game aimed at teaching new generations the importance of killing that one guy.
The Satanic Verses, first published in 1988, set the Islamic world aflame with its irreverant depiction of the prophet Muhammad. The book encompassed a disputed Muslim tradition that speaks of verses added to the Qur’an by Muhammad that allowed three pagan goddesses once worshipped in Mecca as divine entities. The tradition states that Muhammad later denouced the verses, claiming they were whispered to him by the devil, hence the title of the book.
The perceived blasphemy perpetrated by Rushdie and the ensuing fatwā sparked violence around the world. Book stores were bombed, people associated with the novel were attacked, and several attempts were made on the author’s life. Fortunately for Rushdie, now Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie, declaring to the world that you plan on killing someone is an almost surefire way to ensure they stay alive.
The fatwā is still technically on, however, as the only person that could officially rescind it is the issuer, and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini died months after issuing the order.
It sounds like the plot to a spy novel. To the Islamic Association of Students, it’s also the plot to a video game.
Representatives from the student association talked about The Stressful Life of Salman Rushdie and Implementation of his Verdict earlier this week at a computer expo in Iran. Speaking to Iranian newswire Mehr, association rep Mohammed-Taqi Fakhrian said “We felt we should find a way to introduce our third and fourth generation to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie and its importance.”
They just want to keep looming death alive.
Details on the game were scarce, leaving us free to imagine a game in which the ageing author dodges knives and gunfire Matrix-style as a means of explaining why previous attempts on his life had failed. Is that dubstep I hear?
The Stressful Life of Salman Rushdie and Implementation of his Verdict has been in development for three years, and the association plans on releasing it in the Iranian market soon.
Rushie himself is on record as not being a big fan of video games. He is, however, a big fan of himself, so maybe he’ll give this one a go.
Iranian Game Tries to Revive Rushdie Fatwa [Wall Street Journal]