Salman Rushdie's recent visit to India sparked protests by Muslim groups, prompting threats from a leading organization to boycott the products manufactured by Rushdie’s hosts, the owners of a major Indian corporation, the Associated Press reported. Shortly after Rushdie's arrival, Muslim groups began demonstrating outside the home of the Godrej family, the owners of Godrej Industries Ltd., which manufactures furniture, machinery, and chemicals. As protests turned toward the family, the author ended his visit on Tuesday, two days earlier than planned.
Despite Rushdie's departure, the All India Ulema Association, a national Islamic clerics organization, has urged Muslims to boycott products manufactured by Godrej Industries. "Why was a man with no respect for Islam or the prophet allowed to stay here?" asked Maulana Sayyed Atarali, the group’s president. The Godrejs, who follow Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion, have not commented on the protests.
Rushdie, who was born in India in 1947, has encountered protests on several visits to the country since the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses (Viking, 1988). India, where fourteen percent of the population practices Islam, was one of the first countries to ban the book.