A bounty on famous novelist Salman Rushdie reportedly has been raised by an imam in Iran, as Rushdie prepares to publish a new book and protests rage in the Middle East and North Africa over an online film that insults Islam.
Rushdie, meanwhile, says in an interview with CNN that "manufacturing outrage" began with protests against his work years ago and has become "much more prevalent and much more widespread."
Rushdie first enraged Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 with his novel "The Satanic Verses." Inspired by the life of Muhammad Western critics heaped awards and praise on it.
Khomeini deemed the book was blasphemous and ordered a death fatwa.
Like the controversial movie that sparked protests at embassies and other Western outposts in Muslim countries in recent days, "The Satanic Verses" sparked protests throughout the Muslim world.
On Monday, Imam Hojatoleslam Hassan Sanei raised his little-known organization's original bounty on Rushdie by half a million dollars to $3.3 million, according to Iran's Mehr news agency.
Sanei's organization, the 15th of Khordad Foundation, made news when it first offered a bounty for Rushdie, but in recent years it has fallen out of the public eye.
"The death sentence issued against Salman (Rushdie) was meant to dry the roots of anti-Islamic plots, and now by carrying out that sentence the sequence of these anti-Islamic plots could be uprooted and these days are the best time to do that," Mehr quoted the imam as saying.
Rushdie's new book, "Joseph Anton: A Memoir," is an account of the firestorm surrounding "The Satanic Verses" and death threats he faced.
CNN will air an interview Sunday with Rushdie on "Fareed Zakaria GPS."
"At the time of the attack on 'The Satanic Verses,' what we saw was not so much a spontaneous outpouring of rage as a very carefully manufactured outpouring," Rushdie tells Zakaria.
"There was no doubt that it was highly controlled. You know, there were missives sent out from mosques to all sorts of people and they were all (were) identical, to make sure everybody was singing from the same song sheet...making the same attacks on the book in the same words."
Zakaria points out that he was in India when the book was published.
"There were lots of demonstrations ... a couple with a few thousand people," Zakaria recalls.
But, he says, "It was impossible that anyone could have read the book ... at that point."
It had not been made available in India yet, Zakaria says, and Rushie confirms the point.
"Looking back at it, you can see that that was one of the early moments at which this project of manufacturing outrage began," Rushdie says. "And that's, of course, become much more prevalent and much more widespread."
"And I think certainly, if we look at what's happening now, this is very much a product of the outrage machine," Rushdie says. "Yes, there's this stupid film ... and the correct response to a stupid film on YouTube is to say it's a stupid film on YouTube, and you get on with the rest of your life.
"So to take that and to deliberately use it to inflame your -- your troops, you know, is a political act. That's not about religion, that's about power," Rushdie tells Zakaria.