6 October 1992

Doc. 6697

WRITTEN DECLARATION No. 222

in favour of respect for the life of the

writer and novelist Salman Rushdie


      The undersigned, members of the Assembly,

1.       Whereas the Council of Europe has as its fundamental objective the defence of the rights of man and democracy;

2.       Noting that in February 1989 the Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced the writer Salman Rushdie to death and called on Muslims to carry out that sentence, on the grounds that certain passages in the novel "Satanic Verses" are offensive to Muhammad and the Islamic religion;

3.       Whereas the said passages occur in a novel, a literary genre in which literary creation and elements of fantasy are paramount, and having regard to the statements made by the writer and novelist himself, to the effect that the said passages should be interpreted from a literary point of view;

4.       Proclaiming our deepest respect for all religious ideas and beliefs of peoples and nations in general, and for the Islamic religion in particular;

5.       Whereas, however, the democratic way of life requires mutual respect and tolerance between persons holding religious beliefs and non-believers, while allowing the right to dissent and permitting the settlement of differences of opinion by peaceful means alone;

6.       Whereas the life of the individual is the first and most important of the rights of man;

7.       Having regard to the petitions of cultural personalities from all over the world,

8.       Request,

i.       that the competent authorities of Iran, as a demonstration of their respect for the supreme value of life, over and above any sense of outrage which they may feel, revoke the death sentence and order of execution pronounced against the writer and novelist Salman Rushdie;

ii.       that the Council of Europe through its representative bodies carry out the appropriate activities of mediation with a view to the peaceful solution of this matter, but safeguarding at all events the life of the writer and novelist.

Signed:       NUŅEZ       L. FISCHER

      STOFFELEN       JOHNSTON

      BERG       DE PUIG

      TUMMERS       TERBORG

      ROKOFYLLOS       HALLER

      FRANCK       ROSETA

      ERR       SOELL

      KIRKHILL       HAWLICEK

      FABRA       PILARSKI

      WORMS       LOPEZ HENARES

      COLUMBERG       ROMAN

      _________

      Total: 22