British author Salman Rushdie will appear at a conference in New Delhi Friday, less than two months after death threats derailed his last trip to his native India.

Rushdie was forced to stay away from India in January. He was scheduled give a reading during the Jaipur Literary Festival, the biggest of such festivals in Asia, but canceled after he was told (the) Bombay mafia had sent two hitmen to eliminate me, he said.

The Booker Prize-winning author is still a loathed figure by many Muslims around the world; indeed, India was the first country to protest and ban his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, which led the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran to call for his murder.

Rushdie will appear at a conference hosted by the India Today media group on Friday as part of a panel discussion with Aatish Taseer, a half-Sikh, half-Muslim writer and journalist.

I think it's excellent, author William Dalrymple, who was the director of the Jaipur Festival, told Reuters.

Our mistake at Jaipur was to announce his visit three weeks in advance, which gave everyone who opposed his visit time to mobilize. And of course it took place during an election.

Rushdie was famously given a fatwa death sentence by Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after the publication of The Satanic Verses, which was based in part on the life of the prophet Muhammad.

The fatwa -- or death sentence -- against Rushie was lifted in 1998, but he is still a controversial and blasphemous figure for many Muslims.

“Whenever Rushdie has come here, we have always condemned it,” Maulana Abdul Khaliq, the deputy vice chancellor of the Darul Uloom Islamic school, told Agence France Presse before the Jaipur festival.

“People who admire him can go and find him abroad.”