London, May 27 : Sir Salman Rushdie has thanked all those who supported him and opposed the fatwa imposed on him 20 years ago for writing his controversial novel, The Satanic Verses.
Speaking at Hay Festival in Powys, where he was one of the keynote speakers, Rushdie paid tribute to all the booksellers who "redoubled" their efforts to sell the banned work.
In 1989, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued the author with a death warrant over alleged blasphemy against the Prophet Mohamed in The Satanic Verses.
He returned to public life only 10 years later when Teheran withdrew its support for the death sentence.
Praising his supporters, Rushdie said the "many acts of courage" had stayed "more than the ugliness".
He said that while he was "demonised" by a threat from a foreign country, there were many "small-scale heroes' who kept on selling his work, The Satanic Verses.
"It was extraordinary to be at the centre of such a collective act," BBC quoted him, as saying.
Asked how the fatwa had changed him personally, the Booker-winning writer said he believed he would have changed in any case during the 20 years since the controversy occurred.
However, he added: "I had to understand not just what I was fighting against, but also what I was fighting for."