JUNE 25 2008 16:42h
Britain bestowed an honour on the writer who stirred up Muslims of the world – the king of controversy has become the knight of literature.
British Queen Elisabeth II has knighted controversial writer Salman Rushdie, despite the fact that this honour has been condemned by Muslims across the world.
The writer has been knighted for his contribution to literature.
Islamic countries, particularly Pakistan and Iran, have strongly opposed Rushdie being knighted.
Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomenei in 1989 issued a fatwa against Sir Rushdie, calling upon Muslims to kill him, because of which Rushdie has been in hiding for the past nine years. The main reason for the fatwa being proclaimed was his book “The Satanic Verses”, an allegory about the fight between good and evil, which the Islamic world saw as blasphemy.
When the Iranian government rescinded the fatwa in 1998, Salman returned to public life, but he remained no stranger to controversy.
When it was announced that Rushdie would receive the knighthood title, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali Hosseini said the decision was a display of Islamophobia of British officials.
Ayman al-Zawahari, bin Laden’s deputy, in July 2007 threatened to rise against Britain if Rushdie gets the title.
But back then the British Home Secretary, John Reid, said the government was adamant to bestow the honour on the writer.