Iran condemns Britain for knighting Rushdie

July 1st, 2008 - 10:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, July 1, (IANS) Iran Tuesday strongly criticised Britain for honouring controversial author Salman Rushdie with knighthood, official IRNA news agency reported. “The Islamic republic considers Britian’s act (of awarding Rushdie a knighthood) as an insult to beliefs and sanctions of over one billion Muslims worldwide,” foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said, adding that Tehran “condemns such an unacceptable act.”

Queen Elizabeth II last week awarded the 61-year-old author of Indian origin with the knighthood for his service to literature.

Rushdie sparked protests in Muslim countries around the world with his book “The Satanic Verses”. In 1989, the late Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or death sentence, against him for blasphemy.

Hosseini said, “Rushdie, the apostate writer of the blasphemous book ‘The Satanic Verses’, was the initiator of a trend of insulting the Islamic sanctities in the West.”

He regretted that Britain has awarded knighthood to a man who has notorious record of blaspheming Prophet Mohammad.

Hosseini also condemned the concurrence of the event with the move by the British government to remove the name of terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from its terrorist blacklist.

After Rushdie’s knighthood was announced last year, a Pakistani government minister at one point suggested the award justified suicide bombings.

Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri had also warned last year that the terror network was preparing a “precise response” to Britain’s decision to give Rushdie the highest civilian honour.

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