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Report: Iranian bounty on author Salman Rushdie raised

An Iranian religious foundation has reportedly raised the amount it would pay for the killing of Salman Rushdie, author of a novel considered blasphemous by Iranian clerics.

0916_World_ORUSHDIE

Director Deepa Mehta, (l.), and author Salman Rushdie pose for photographs on the red carpet for the new movie 'Midnight's Children' during the Toronto International Film Festival Sept. 9. An Iranian religious group has increased the amount of money they would pay for the killing of Rushdie, author of 'The Satanic Verses,' a novel considered blasphemous by Iran's late leader.

Nathan Denette/AP

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A semi-official religious foundation in Iran has increased a reward it had offered for the killing of British author Salman Rushdie to $3.3 million from $2.8 million, a newspaper reported, days after protests coursed through the Muslim world over alleged insults to the prophet Muhammad.

Hardline Jomhoori Eslami daily and other newspapers reported on Sunday that the move appeared to be linked to protests over an amateurish anti-Islam film, which crowds in some 20 countries said drove them to defend their faith — in some cases by attacking American embassies.

The report said the 15 Khordad Foundation will pay the higher reward to whoever acts on the 1989 fatwa, or religious edict, issued by Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which called for the death of the author "The Satanic Verses" because the novel was considered blasphemous.

The paper said the decision to boost the original reward, offered in the 1990s, came from foundation head Ayatollah Hassan Saneii.

"As long as the exalted Imam Khomeini's historical fatwa against apostate Rushdie is not carried out, it won't be the last insult. If the fatwa had been carried out, later insults in the form of caricature, articles and films that have continued would have not happened," the paper quoted Saneii as saying.

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