British author and Islam critic Salman Rushdie will have Australian Federal Police protection when he addresses a global atheist convention in Melbourne.

The Indian-born writer, who Islamist extremists have wanted to kill since 1989, has agreed to be the headline act for the Global Atheist Convention after fellow ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali pulled out for personal reasons.

Atheist Foundation of Australia president Kylie Sturgess said the Australian Federal Police were helping with security arrangements for the February 2018 event.

'In staging the convention, called Reason to Hope, we are consulting with local and Federal police, and all appropriate security experts, to take the necessary precautions,' she told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday.

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