Berlin: British author Salman Rushdie said on Monday that if a fatwa calling for his murder over his book "The Satanic Verses" had been issued in the social networking era, it would have further endangered his life.

The writer, in Berlin to publicise his new account of the near decade he spent in hiding, said the campaign against his 1988 book had been "very efficient and very international" with just phones and fax machines.

"There was essentially no email, no text messages, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Web, and that of course slowed down the attack," he said.

"When everybody can know everything instantly, it would have been possible to mobilise people against the book with much greater speed and would have been more dangerous now," he added.

Rushdie also hit out at what he called a "culture of offendedness" saying it was absurd and threatened free expression to advocate the banning of works because people took offence.

"This idea that somehow we can ask to live in a world where nothing offends us is an absurdity," the 65-year-old Indian-born writer said.

His more than 600-page memoir "Joseph Anton", named after his alias while in hiding and written in the third person, was published last month just as deadly protests over a film rocked the Muslim world.

"We live in this age in which there is this culture of offendedness. All sorts of people, not just Islamic radicals, use this argument as a way of attacking other forms of speech," he said.

"It simply has to be resisted a great deal because otherwise you lose something very precious, which is the right to free expression which was not easily won," he added.


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