Salman Rushdie is defending the PEN American Center's plans to honor the magazine Charlie Hebdo, saying the decision of six writers to skip the PEN gala in protest will encourage intimidation.

Rushdie said Monday in an email to The Associated Press that PEN is "quite right" to honor the Charlie Hebdo artists killed during a January shooting at the magazine's Paris offices. Rushdie was forced into hiding for years over death threats related to his novel, "The Satanic Verses."

Michael Ondaatje, Peter Carey and four other authors have told the literary and human rights organization they will not attend its May 5 event where the magazine will receive a Free Expression Courage Award. They cited among their reasons Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Muslims that they consider offensive.