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Salman Rushdie was protected by IRA on visits to Ireland under his deadly £3m fatwa

The Satanic Verses writer said he had “free pass” from terror group as they respected his opposition to the censoring of Sinn Féin

Salman Rushdie was told he was in no danger from the IRA

Hadi Matar is led away after the incident© AP

Rushdie was a guest in Bono’s home

Aaron TinneySunday World

Salman Rushdie was protected by the IRA on visits to Ireland under his deadly £3million fatwa.

The Satanic Verses writer – now fighting for life after being repeatedly stabbed in a cowardly knife attack – said he had a “free pass” from the terror group as they respected his opposition to the censoring of Sinn Féin.

Salman (75) said about making a “political trip to Dublin” with third wife Elizabeth West in the 1990s to meet President Mary Robinson.

During the trip, he was approached by the IRA after he later gave a talk at the Let In The Light free-speech conference at Trinity College.

Salman revealed: “Afterwards at the drinks for the speakers a small sturdy woman came up and said because I had opposed the ordinance called Section 31, which banned Sinn Féin from Irish TV, ‘You have removed all danger to yourself from us’.”

When Salman asked “And who’s us?”, he says the woman stared in his eyes and said: “You know fockin’ well who we are.”

Salman added: “After being given this free pass by the IRA, I was whisked to Gay Byrne’s Late Late Show, and because Gay had said he had read and liked The Satanic Verses, just about the whole of Ireland decided that it and its author must be ok.”

Four-times married dad-of-two Salman is suffering from severed nerves, a butchered liver and faces losing an eye after he was knifed on stage while sitting with his back to an attacker before a lecture on Friday.

Hadi Matar is led away after the incident© AP

The man accused of brutally attacking Salman was yesterday charged with attempted murder.

New York state police had named the suspected knifeman as Hadi Matar (24), of Fairview, New Jersey, shortly after the writer was attacked.

The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it to be blasphemous.

Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death, with a bounty of more than €3m placed on his head.

Rushdie was a guest in Bono’s home

Rushdie also recounted his long-standing friendship with Bono, saying usually stayed at “a beautiful little guest house” at the bottom of his garden in Killiney.

He loved its “CinemaScope views”, adding: “Guests were encouraged to sign their names and scribble messages or drawings on the bathroom wall.”

Salman recounts how, two days after the IRA told him they were fans, Bono smuggled him to a bar in Killiney without telling the Garda protection squad – leaving the security furious.It has been reported Bono sheltered the hunted author at his house for five years in secret.

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