Durban writer believes praise for Rushdie behind vicious attack

Durban writer Zainub Priya Dala believes she was assaulted for expressing admiration for controversial novelist Salman Rushdie, her publisher said on Saturday. 

“Author ZP Dala… was assaulted in Overport, Durban, on Wednesday,” Umuzi publishers, the South African imprint of Penguin Random House publishers, said in a statement. 

Dala was due to launch her first novel this week, but the event was cancelled following the attack. The attack came after a session in which she expressed her admiration for Rushdie’s writing style in Chatsworth on Tuesday. 

A number of teachers and pupils walked out after she made the remark. On Wednesday, Dala’s vehicle was forced off the road by three men in a car. Two of the men accosted her, held a knife to her throat and hit her in the face with a brick while calling her “Rushdie’s bitch”. 

British Indian author Rushdie’s controversial 1988 novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ sparked protests by Muslims in several countries. He received death threats and was named in a 2010 Al-Qaeda “hitlist” by Islamic militant Anwar al-Awlaki. 

A case of assault was opened at Mayville police station in KwaZulu-Natal. Dala was treated for soft-tissue trauma. – Sapa

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