What I read, and what I don’t – Thu., 21 June 2007: Venomous Opposition To Knighting of Writer Salman Rushdie
On Monday, June 18 2007, I read that a non-governmental organization in Iran is offering $150,000 for the death of author Salman Rushdie. Forouz Raja’ee-Far, secretary general of the Headquarters for Honoring the Martyrs of Islam World Movement, said the former $100,000 prize for carrying out the execution ordered by Imam Khomeini in 1989 has now been increased to $150,000, the Fars News Agency reported Monday. I read, that the bounty increase follows the Queen of England’s bestowal of knighthood on the Indian-born author.“According to Imam Khomeini’s verdict, it is an obligation for all Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie even if he repents from the bottom of his heart and becomes the pious man of the time,” Raja’ee-Far said. “Also according to Imam’s verdict, if a non-Muslim person can find and execute Rushdie sooner than Muslims, it will be an obligation for Muslims to provide such a person with whatever he wants as his payment or prize,” he said.
That very same day I read, that the Pakistan parliament has voted unanimously to condemn the Queen of England’s bestowal of knighthood on controversial author Salman Rushdie. I read that the resolution was proposed by Sher Afgan Khan Niazi, Pakistan’s minister for Parliamentary Affairs, who called Rushdie a “blasphemer” and said his knighthood is an insult to the religious sentiments of Muslims. I read that Niazi said before the country’s National Assembly: “Every religion should be respected. I demand the British government immediately withdraw the title as it is creating religious hatred,” he said.
On Tuesday, June 2007, I read that a British official told Pakistan that England is concerned over a minister’s comment that Salman Rushdie’s knighthood could justify suicide bombings. British High Commissioner to Pakistan Robert Brinkley “made clear the British government’s deep concern at what the minister for religious affairs was reported to have said,” a Foreign Office spokesman said and the Guardian reported. “The British government is very clear that nothing can justify suicide bomb attacks.”I read, that Brinkley met with Pakistani officials in Islamabad Tuesday.“It is simply untrue to suggest that this in anyway is an insult to Islam or the Prophet Muhammad and we have enormous respect for Islam as a religion and for its intellectual and cultural achievements,” Brinkley said in a statement, the Guardian reported.
On Wednesday, June 20 2007, I read that the Pakistani Foreign Office has told a British high commissioner that Pakistan staunchly opposes Britain’s knighthood of author Salman Rushdie.A Foreign Office representative said Robert Brinkley, the British High Commission to Pakistan, was recently informed Muslims were hurt by Britain’s decision to offer Rushdie the title of “Sir,” The (Pakistan) Tribune reported Wednesday.Pakistani official Tasneem Aslam said that through his literary writings and verbal comments, Rushdie became a blasphemer who deeply offended Muslims’ religious beliefs and sentiments.The newspaper said Brinkley also was informed the Pakistani government was set to condemn Britain’s decision with a joint resolution.
On Thursday, 21 June 2007, I read that Britain’s foreign secretary Wednesday expressed sorrow over any offense caused to Muslims by the knighting of “The Satanic Verses” writer Salman Rushdie.
I read, that the Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said people should understand the honor was for Rushdie’s entire literary career, not just one book, The Telegraph reported. She said Rushdie was just one of many Muslims who have been recognized by the British honors system, a point that “may not be realized by many of those who have been vocal in their opposition.” I read, that bestowing of knighthood upon the controversial author has triggered a flood of verbal venom from Islamic nations, including Malaysia where demonstrators chanted “go to hell, Britain.” Iraq’s foreign minister has condemned Britain’s issuing of the honor, saying it could be used as an excuse to cause problems around the world, the British newspaper reported. I read, that British Home Secretary John Reid also said the award was the right thing to do, saying it symbolizes the protection of people’s rights to express their opinions, which is “of overriding value to our society.”
What I don’t read, is whether now fundamentalists are trying to recruit opponents of an author’s writings for a Jihad against the Western World as the well of blasphemy, or if warmongers within that world are trying to recruit his admirers for a Crusade against Islam as the craddle of terrorism.
For those who need an intro: Salman Rushdie is a British-Indian writer who celebrated his 60th birthday Tuesday, and first became a target of the world’s Muslim population with his controversial 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses.” Recently the knighthood for the author has created an uproar in Pakistan, with the parliament calling for the decision granting it to be reversed and effigies of Rushdie and the queen of England being burned. Many Muslims considered “The Satanic Verses” blasphemous and the author lived in hiding and under protection after a “fatwa” was issued by Iran’s spiritual leader in 1988.