New Delhi: Well-known writer Salman Rushdie Monday said that a harsher version of Islam was spreading with the help of Saudi Arabia`s oil money.
"What has developed now is a harsher Islam partly because of the spread of Wahhabi ideas, with the help of colossal amount of Saudi oil money, partly because of the rise of the Ayatollahs and Shia Islam," Rushdie said in an interview to a news channel.
Religious activists in several countries across the world recently indulged in violence against a film depicting Prophet Muhammad in a negative light.
But, Rushdie said attacks against free speech in India too were worrying.
Rushdie has recently published his long awaited memoir `Joseph Anton`, based on his nine years of living under an Iranian religious decree (fatwa).
"All you have to do is look at the attacks on Ramanujam`s essay on the 300 Ramayanas which was removed from the Delhi University syllabus, the attack on Rohinton Mistry`s novel which was immediately removed from the Bombay University syllabus, and the attack on cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for his perfectly okay cartoons," he said.
According to the writer, Indian leaders were lampooned in cartoons after freedom but never attempted to suppress them.
Stating that Hindu intolerance was just as bad as Islamic intolerance, Rushdie wondered, "It is that majoritarian intolerance. For instance, M.F. Husain being attacked for painting Saraswati unclothed, well I haven`t seen pictures of Saraswati clothed, where are they, who paints them?" asked Rushdie.