The Satanic Verses author Sir Salman Rushdie said it would be "difficult" to publish the book now because of the "climate of fear" that exists.

The writer, whose latest book Joseph Anton: A Memoir recounts his life in hiding after Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for his death, said many of the opponents of free expression used a "medieval vocabulary".

Rushdie spent years living under the threat of death following the publication of the novel, which was inspired in part by the life of Mohammed, and sparked demonstrations and protests from Muslims.

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