He claimed that he had renewed his Muslim faith, had repudiated the attacks on Islam in his novel and was committed to working for better understanding of the religion across the world. However, in a recent interview the 60-year-old claimed that his reversion to the religion of his birth was all a 'pretence'. "It was deranged thinking. I was more off-balance than I ever had been, but you can't imagine the pressure I was under. I simply thought I was making a statement of fellowship," Times Online quoted him, as saying on the interview. "As soon as I said it I felt as if I had ripped my own tongue out. It became the moment I hit rock bottom. I realised that my only survival mechanism was my own integrity. People, my friends, were angry with me, and that was the reaction I cared about," he added.
Rushdie also said that the criticism of the book caused him more upset than the fatwa.
"I had spent five years writing this book. It was my best effort. To have it hated and dismissed, and for me to be considered a person of no worth and value, was terrible. I thought that if this is what you get, then why write? I might as well become a bus conductor," he said.