Air Canada bans Rushdie over security measures


Author Mr Salman Rushdie has not been allowed to fly on Air Canada since September, and an airline spokeswoman says she cannot say when the ban will be lifted.

The Satanic Verses

Canada's largest airline last year barred Mr Rushdie because other passengers would be greatly inconvenienced by security measures, largely demanded by the United States, that were needed to protect the British author, spokeswoman Ms Laura Cook said.

Air Canada has a standing order in its reservations system not to allow Mr Rushdie on any of its planes, anywhere in the world. The company told the novelist of its decision in a letter to his editors.

Ms Cook said the ban was in response to a directive from the US Federal Aviation Administration, issued on September 6th. It required airlines flying to the United States to adopt "specific security enhancements" when Mr Rushdie was on board. She would not say what those were.

Iran's late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a religious edict or "fatwa" in 1989 calling for Mr Rushdie's death following the release of The Satanic Verses. The death order forced the author to go into hiding for years.

In 1998, the government of Iranian President Mr Mohammad Khatami distanced itself from the death order. But last month, Iran's Islamic Revolution Martyr Foundation told an Iranian newspaper the death sentence was irrevocable.