Saturday, July 7, 2007

Honoring Rushdie or Maligning Islam?

One of the British traditions is for the sovereign to bestow honors, twice a year, to individuals for exceptional achievement or service in any of a very wide variety of fields including politics, science, arts. The king or queen chooses the recipients of honors or a host of titles, on the advice of the prime minister and other relevant ministers, to whom recommendations are made by their departments or members of the public - private individuals or organizations. In other words, the final list presented to the queen is the sum total of hard and intensive work undertaken by different bodies.

Among those selected for conferring knighthood this year is Salman Rushdie. To have included his name in the list is nothing but a huge offense to Muslims and Islam. Honoring the author of "The Satanic Verses" amounts to offending the feelings of the Muslim Ummah and provoking its anger because Rushdie has defamed our Prophet (peace be upon him). This wasn't a spontaneous act by an individual or an irrational decision by an extremist organization; it was the outcome of a calculated move by many governmental bodies and approved by the British queen and the country's Prime Minister Tony Blair.

If we take into account the crisis in the relations between the British government and its Muslim subjects and the efforts being made by the government to make peace with them and gain their trust and confidence and the impact on Muslims of Britain's participation in the war against Iraq and Afghanistan, it is not difficult to see that the government's decision to confer the knighthood on Salman Rushdie is totally unjustifiable. It's an unwise and irresponsible decision that smacks of a grudge against Muslims. It is unbecoming of a responsible government. CONTINUED

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