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05 October 2012

Islam: I don't like the word Islamophobia, Rushdie

10772f5eb15204a8f46cc1a908d1ae56_693320.jpg(ANSAmed) - BERLIN - Freedom of expression is a fundamental value, and in no way comparable to physical violence against others, British-Indian author Salman Rushdie said at his latest book

launch on Tuesday. Titled Joseph Anton, it's a memoir of the nine years he spent in hiding after Iran's spiritual leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a death warrant against him in 1989, accusing Rushdie of blasphemy in his novel The Satanic Verses.

''The pope gets ridiculed every day, but you don't see Catholics organizing terrorist attacks around the world,'' the atheist author said. ''I don't like the word Islamophobia. We must distinguish between attacking ideas and attacking people.

The response to words must always be more words. People are using offense as an excuse for revenge. But there is no intrinsic right to not be offended, it's absurd.'' The title of his new book, a composite of the names of his two favorite authors, Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov, is the pseudonym he chose when he went into hiding, Rushdie explained.

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