The Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy on Sunday said that the recent attack on author Salman Rushdie was aimed at creating a regime of fear.

Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and abdomen at an event in New York’s Chautauqua Institution on August 12. The author has faced several death threats for his book The Satanic Verses published in 1988. In 1989, Iran’s late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had issued a religious edict known as a fatwa, asking Muslims to kill Rushdie.

According to Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, the author’s liver and nerves in an arm were damaged in the attack. Rushdie was taken off the ventilator on August 13.

The man accused of stabbing Rushdie, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, has pleaded not guilty.

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In a statement issued on Sunday, the forum of Indian Muslims said there cannot be any doubt that the assault on author was a result of the fatwa issued by Khomeini.

The group noted that the translators of The Satanic Verses have also been attacked and the book had to be taken off shelves. The book’s Japanese translator was killed in July 1991. A few months later, an Italian translator was also stabbed and the book’s Norwegian publisher was shot.

It said that the this “regime of fear” ensured that just a few supported Rushdie and that the actions against the author and his book was the “real Islam”.

“Thirty-three years later, we hear the same loud silence from Muslim countries and organizations [on the attack on Rushdie”,” the group said. “None of the prominent Indian Muslim organisations have condemned this barbarous attack on a prominent writer. It is this silence that emboldens the Islamophobes to paint the religion as a creed of violence and terror.”

The group also pointed to the murder of a tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Rajasthan as another case about the intolerance within sections of Indian Muslims.

“Though all major Muslim organisations condemned the murder, but did do so under the pretext of a hate-crime, but refused to acknowledge the fact that it was a murder for blasphemy,” it said. “Such is the blatant hypocrisy, which only serves to weaken and further isolate the Muslim community due to it’s dual standards.”

Lal was killed on June 28 purportedly for having shared a social media post in support of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma. She had made disparaging remarks about Prophet Muhammad during a television debate in May.

The assailants, Ghouse Mohammed and Attari, were held by the Rajasthan Police on the same day of the attack. A video showed both the men claiming responsibility for the crime as they brandish the cleavers used in the murder.

The Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy said that several Islamic organisations only speak about human rights when they are attacked but not when the rights of others who differ from them on matter of religion are infringed.

Describing this behaviour as “plain hypocrisy”, the group said that it does not help the “Muslim cause”.

“Being a minority, Indian Muslims should be championing a rights-based discourse on the importance of free speech and dissent,” it said. “It is unfortunate that despite living in a political democracy for 75 years, Muslim organizations today are demanding a national blasphemy law.”

The group added: “Muslims do not need the Hindu right wing to argue that Islam and human rights are incompatible; they themselves have been advertising this position for long.”