Pakistan’s Parliament condemns Sir Rushdie’s knighthood

From the Guardian:

Pak­istani law­mak­ers passed a gov­ern­ment-backed res­o­lu­tion Mon­day demand­ing Britain with­draw the knight­hood award­ed to author Salman Rushdie, con­demn­ing the hon­or as an insult to the reli­gious sen­ti­ments of Mus­lims.

In the east­ern city of Mul­tan, hard-line Mus­lim stu­dents burned effi­gies of Queen Eliz­a­beth II and Rushdie. About 100 stu­dents car­ry­ing ban­ners con­demn­ing the author also chant­ed, “Kill Him! Kill Him!”

The ‘sir’ title from Britain for blas­phe­mer Salman Rushdie has hurt the sen­ti­ments of the Mus­lims across the world. Every reli­gion should be respect­ed. I demand the British gov­ern­ment imme­di­ate­ly with­draw the title as it is cre­at­ing reli­gious hatred,” Niazi told the Nation­al Assem­bly.

Law­mak­ers vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly for the res­o­lu­tion although one oppo­si­tion mem­ber, Khwa­ja Asif, said it exposed a con­tra­dic­tion in the government’s pol­i­cy as an ally of Britain in the inter­na­tion­al war on ter­ror­ism.

Iran on Sun­day also con­demned the knight­hood for Rushdie.

The British High Com­mis­sion in Islam­abad defend­ed the deci­sion to hon­or Rushdie — one of the most promi­nent nov­el­ists of the late 20th cen­tu­ry whose 13 books have won numer­ous awards, includ­ing the Book­er Prize for “Midnight’s Chil­dren” in 1981.

Sir Salman’s hon­or is rich­ly deserved and the rea­sons for it are self-explana­to­ry,” said spokesman Aidan Lid­dle.

Irfan Husain writes in Pakistan’s Dai­ly Times:

The entire furore over the Satan­ic Vers­es near­ly twen­ty years ago can be seen as the begin­ning of the grow­ing divide between the West and the Mus­lim world. The vio­lent reac­tion among some Mus­lims over a work of fic­tion cul­mi­nat­ed in a fat­wa by Imam Khome­ni. This forced Rushdie into hid­ing for a decade, and con­firmed the stereo­type of Mus­lims as being intol­er­ant.

Since then, things have only got worse. Grow­ing mil­i­tan­cy among a post-fat­wa gen­er­a­tion has seen riot­ing and vio­lence over the slight­est ‘west­ern’ provo­ca­tion. Mobs pour into the streets at the incite­ment of extrem­ist cler­ics. Gov­ern­ments in the Mus­lim world deflect crit­i­cism of their incom­pe­tence and cor­rup­tion by encour­ag­ing extrem­ism.

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