London: British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie paid tribute to the work of satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo following a deadly attack on its offices Wednesday, saying religion must be subject to satire.
Rushdie was forced into hiding after Iran issued a death sentence on him for allegedly insulting Islam with his 1988 book "The Satanic Verses".
"I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity," he said.
"`Respect for religion` has become a code phrase meaning `fear of religion`. Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect."
Wednesday`s shooting in Paris, which left at least 12 people dead, took place after years of confrontation between Charlie Hebdo and Islamists infuriated by what they saw as the publication`s attacks on their religion.
Rushdie issued his statement on Twitter, along with the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie, which many users have been tweeting in a show of solidarity.
"Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms," the author of "Midnight`s Children" said.
"This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today."