Pakistanis anger over 'Queen award to Salman Rushdie'

Legislators in northwest Pakistan condemned Britain's award of a knighthood to Salman Rushdie, amid mounting anger over the "honour".

Pakistanis anger over 'Queen award to Salman Rushdie'

Legislators in northwest Pakistan condemned Britain's award of a knighthood to Salman Rushdie, amid mounting anger over the "honour".

The North West Frontier Province assembly, which is led by an alliance of Muslim parties, adopted a resolution calling for Pakistan to sever ties with Britain over the accolade.

Rushdie went into hiding for a decade after Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 issued a death sentence over his book.

He received the award on Saturday from Queen Elizabeth II.

"This house strongly condemns the decision to confer the title of Sir on Salman Rushdie, who is hated in the Muslim world for his blasphemous book The Satanic Verses," the resolution said.

"The move is part of a campaign being waged in Europe and the West to hurt the feelings of Muslims."

The resolution called upon the federal government to "sever diplomatic relations with Britain in protest and summon the British ambassador to convey the anger prevailing among the people of Pakistan".

Pakistani religious affairs minister Ijaz-ul-Haq told parliament on Monday that the award to Rushdie would provide justification for suicide bombings by Muslims.

Pakistan's parliament also adopted a resolution calling for a withdrawal of the knighthood.

Railways minister Sheikh Rashid was quoted as saying by state media that the decision "will fuel the anti-west feelings of Muslims."

However Britain's High Commissioner (ambassador) to Pakistan, Robert Brinkley, defended the award and said it was not intended as an insult to Muslims.

"Sir Salman's knighthood is a reflection of his contribution to literature throughout a long and distinguished career which has seen him receive international recognition for a substantial body of work," Brinkley said.

"It is simply untrue that this knighthood is intended as an insult to Islam or the Prophet Mohammed," he added in the statement issued late Monday.

Last Mod: 19 Haziran 2007, 19:00
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