The vice chancellor of Darul Uloom seminary in Deoband, India, said many Muslims have been "hurt" by Rushdie's novel, "The Satanic Verses," The Daily Telegraph of London reported. Rushdie spent several years in hiding after the novel was published in 1988 because the Ayatollah Khomeini, then the leader of Iran, pronounced a fatwa calling for his death.
The book is regarded as blasphemous because the narrator says the Archangel Gabriel has revealed verses to the Koran.
Darul Uloom officials called for Rushdie's visa to be canceled. But Rushdie, born in Mumbai, carries an Indian passport.
"Re: my Indian visit, for the record, I don't need a visa," he said on Twitter.
William Dalrymple, the organizer of the festival, said Rushdie is a "major contributor to multiculturalism."
"He's one of the greatest artists India has created, one of the greatest figures to come out of the Indian Muslim community and people should be proud of what he's achieved," Dalrymple said.
Rushdie was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 for his contributions to literature.
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