Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka describes the desperate situation in his native Nigeria in an interview with The Daily Beast’s Tunku Varadarajan. For Soyinka, the fatwa against Salman Rushdie marked a a turning point within political oppression that had international consequences.

In Mr. Soyinka’s view, the origins of the current phase of the world’s religious strife—including all of the bloodshed in Nigeria—lie with Ayatollah Khomeini and his fatwa against Salman Rushdie, in 1989. “It all began when he assumed the power of life and death over the life of a writer. This was a watershed between doctrinaire aggression and physical aggression. There was an escalation. The assumption of power over life and death then passed to every single inconsequential Muslim in the world—as if someone had given them a new stature.

Read the entire interview here.