Updates: Rushdie requests police protection…Iranian group ups bounty for Rushdie’s murder to $150,000…LGF: “If you think this is bad, wait until Friday, the day of prayer, when the mullahs, imams, and sheikhs of the Islamic world will work their special magic on the millions gathered in mosques. It’s gonna be a hell of a Friday.”
If it’s Tuesday, it’s time for a Religion of Perpetual Outrage outbreak somewhere around the world. Pakistan continues to lead the war against Salman Rushdie’s knighthood:
Pakistan summoned the British ambassador on Tuesday and told him awarding a knighthood to author Salman Rushdie was insensitive and contrary to efforts to foster understanding between religions.
Rushdie, whose novel “The Satanic Verses” outraged many Muslims around the world, was awarded a knighthood for services to literature in Queen Elizabeth’s birthday honours list published on Saturday.
The Pakistani parliament passed a resolution on Monday deploring the knighthood, and the religious affairs minister said the honour could be used to justify suicide bombings. He later said he did not mean such attacks would be justified.
Britain said it was concerned about the minister’s comments and nothing could justify suicide blasts.
Pakistanis protested in several cities on Tuesday chanting “Death to Rushdie” and burning effigies of the Indian-born British author.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said British High Commissioner Robert Brinkley had been called in.
“He was told that Salman Rushdie has been a controversial figure who is known less for his literary contribution and more for his offensive and insulting writing which deeply hurts the sentiments of Muslims all over the world,” she said.
“Conferment of a knighthood on Salman Rushdie shows an utter lack of sensitivity on the part of the British government…”
… Aslam said the knighthood was resented by all Muslims.
“The British High Commissioner was further told that Pakistan deplores and regrets this decision which is contrary to our common objective of building inter-civilisational and inter-religious understanding and harmony,” she said.
Brian Ledbetter has a photo gallery of the fresh protests against Rushdie’s “insult.” They could use a spell-checker:
Will Britain defend itself or fold? So far, it has summoned up the guts to express “concern” over the Pakistain religion affairs minister’s comments. Make that “deep concern:”
Britain expressed its “deep concern” today at remarks made by a Pakistani government minister about the knighting of Sir Salman Rushdie as protests against the award continued among Islamic hardliners in Pakistan and Iran.
The British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Robert Brinkley, was summoned to meet officials in Islamabad to hear Pakistani objections to the honour but, according to a Foreign Office spokeswoman, relayed Britain’s own “deep concern” about comments made by the religious affairs minister, Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, in the national assembly yesterday.
Mr ul-Haq appeared to justify a suicide bombing attack in response to Rushdie’s knighthood when he told Pakistani MPs that “if somebody has to attack by strapping a bomb to his body to protect the honour of the Prophet, then it is justified.” He later said he had been misunderstood.
Today Mr Brinkley “made clear the British Government’s deep concern at what the minister for religious affairs was reported to have said,” according the spokesman.
Danish cartoons publisher Flemming Rose, now a blogger at PJM, weighs in:
Unfortunately, too many people do not understand the serious consequences of misplaced respect for offended religious feelings. A prime example – the United Nation’s Human Rights Council’s passage of a scandalous resolution condoning state punishment of speech deemed insulting to religion, which helps regimes that silence criticism and crush dissent.
Where are all the fair-weather friends of free speech when you need them? Bryan Preston sums up Pakistan’s lead role in the Muslim war on Rushdie well:
Folks like these are a bullet or a bomb away from taking power in the world’s only acknowledged nuclear Islamic state. And it’s a state in which the religious affairs minister — pause over that government title for a second — justifies terrorism against a British subject, now knight, for the crime of blaspheming a religion in which the knight does not believe.
Adds Pakistan’s Foreign Minister:
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said Mr. Rushdie’s knighthood would hamper interfaith understanding and that Islamabad would protest to London.
I beg to differ: The reaction to Rushdie’s knighthood has enhanced my understanding of the religion of peace a great deal. Pakistani officials, secular and religious, are on the record deploring the British knighthood for Rushdie as “insensitive,” but silent on the 1989 Iranian fatwa that would have seen him murdered. That says quite a bit more about Islam and its adherents than they realize. Like the cartoon jihad, the knighthood jihad is a clarifying moment in history. Most in the West are sure to miss its meaning entirely.