Pakistan has demanded that Britain withdraw a knighthood awarded to the author Salman Rushdie. The honour has rekindled anger which followed the publication of his book, the Satanic Verses, in 1988, when the Islamic World was outraged by its depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.
Tasnim Alsam from the Pakistan Foreign Ministry: “We deplore the decision of the British government to knight him. This, we feel, is insensitive and we would convey our sentiments to the British Government.”
A spokesman for the British High Commission in Islamabad would not comment on the claims, but did say the knighthood is a reflection of Rushdie’s contribution to literature during his career. The publication of the Satanic Verses was met with violent demonstrations. Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or death warrant, forcing Rushdie into hiding.
This was rescinded in 1998 but some Islamists consider it irrevocable. Iran has also criticised the knighthood, claiming it is evidence of “Islamophobia” among British officials.