Freedom of expression is a fundamental value, and in no way comparable to physical violence against others, British-Indian author Salman Rushdie said at his latest book launch on Tuesday. Titled Joseph Anton, it's a memoir of the nine years he spent in hiding after Iran's spiritual leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a death warrant against him in 1989, accusing Rushdie of blasphemy in his novel The Satanic Verses.

"The pope gets ridiculed every day, but you don't see Catholics organizing terrorist attacks around the world," the atheist author said. "I don't like the word Islamophobia. We must distinguish between attacking ideas and attacking people.

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