Prominent Muslim clerics in India are asking the government to bar author Salman Rushdie from visiting the country to attend a literary festival because of his 1988 book "The Satanic Verses," which they consider blasphemy.
The Darul Uloom seminary's head Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani said Tuesday that the government should respect the feelings of Muslims and not allow Rushdie to attend the Jaipur Literary Festival that begins Jan. 21.
Rushdie spent years in hiding after Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini urged that he be killed for blasphemy because of "The Satanic Verses." The book also was banned in India.
The 150-year-old seminary preaches an austere form of Islam that has inspired millions of Muslims, including the Taliban.