Incident arising from the publication of a novel entitled The Satanic Verses, by British author Salman Rushdie , in 1988 . Many Muslim authorities decried the novel as blasphemous. Its sale and distribution were forbidden in India, Pakistan, South Africa, and Iran. Reactions became dramatic in early 1989 when Muslims in England burned copies of it and protest demonstrations in Pakistan ended in killings and injuries. On 14 February 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa placing a death sentence on the author and publishers for blasphemy against Islam, calling on Muslims everywhere to execute those associated with the novel. The sentence has never been carried out. The fatwa was revoked under the Khatami regime in the late 1990s.