Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Britain's ambassador to Pakistan has expressed deep concern over Islamic comments by a Pakistani minister about Salman Rushdie's knighthood

BBC News:

Protesters in Lahore set fire to a Union flag in protest at the knighthood awarded to Salman Rushdie

Religious Affairs Minister Mohammad Ejaz ul-Haq had said the honour meant a risk of suicide attacks because Muslims believed Sir Salman had insulted Islam.

But High Commissioner Robert Brinkley said it was untrue that the knighthood was intended to insult Islam.

Sir Salman's book The Satanic Verses in 1989 sparked protests around the world.

A spokesman said the high commissioner "made clear the British government's deep concern at what the minister for religious affairs was reported to have said".

"The British government is very clear that nothing can justify suicide bomb attacks," the spokesman added.

A fatwa against Sir Salman was issued in 1989 in Iran, calling for his execution.

Iranian conservatives on Tuesday criticised Britain's Queen Elizabeth over the decision to confer a knighthood on Mr Rushdie.

"Salman Rushdie has turned into a hated corpse which cannot be resurrected by any action," First Deputy Speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar told Iran's parliament.

"The action by the British Queen in knighting Salman Rushdie, the apostate, is an unwise one," he said to loud applause from MPs.

"The British monarch lives under this illusion that Britain is still a 19th Century superpower and that bestowing titles is something still deemed important."

The knighthood has also been strongly condemned by the assembly of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, which described it as "a campaign waged in Europe and the West to hurt the feelings of Muslims".

It urged the government to cut diplomatic ties with the UK.

The Pakistani foreign ministry said the decision to give Sir Salman the knighthood was "insensitive" and that it would convey these sentiments to the British government.

The knighthood has also been roundly condemned by many Pakistani politicians and media outlets, many of which have given the issue prominent coverage.

On Monday Mr ul-Haq caused uproar in parliament when he was accused of inciting violence during a debate of Sir Salman's knighthood.

"If someone commits suicide bombing to protect the honour of the Prophet Mohammad, his act is justified," he said, according to Reuters news agency.

Like Iran, Pakistan is an Islamic republic with an overwhelmingly Muslim population which saw violent protests against The Satanic Verses in 1989.

Sir Salman, 59, was one of almost 950 people to appear on the Queen's Birthday Honours list, which is aimed at recognising outstanding achievement.

The controversial Indian-born author's fourth book - The Satanic Verses in 1988 - describes a cosmic battle between good and evil and combines fantasy, philosophy and farce.

It was immediately condemned by the Islamic world because of its perceived blasphemous depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.

It was banned in many countries with large Muslim communities and in 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's spiritual leader, issued a fatwa.

UK envoy summoned over Rushdie

'Deep concern' over Salman terror threats

Muslim world inflamed by Rushdie knighthood


At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are probably at a minimum hundreds of thousands of Pakistani immigrants in Britain now, most of them no doubt a good deal less educated and worldly than the minister who made the Rushdie comments. Does anyone feel "deep concern" about that?

At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Richard said...

Looks like the British can look forward to more Pakistani suicide bombers thanks to their foolish immigration policies.


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