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Iran slams Rushdie knighthood

Iran slams Rushdie knighthood

Iran yesterday condemned Britain's decision to grant a knighthood to author Salman Rushdie, who was forced into hiding for a decade after the Islamic republic's spiritual leader ordered his assassination.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said the decision to grant Britain's highest honor to Rushdie, who wrote the controversial novel "The Satanic Verses," was an insult to the Muslim world.
"Awarding a person who is among the most detested characters in the Islamic society is obvious proof of anti-Islamism by ranking British officials," said Hosseini during his weekly press conference.
Rushdie went into hiding after Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa, or religious edict, ordering Muslims to kill the author because his novel "The Satanic Verses" allegedly insulted Islam.
The Iranian government declared in 1998 that it would not support but could not rescind the fatwa. Rushdie says he receives a "sort of Valentine's card" from Iran each year on February 14 letting him know the country has not forgotten the vow to end his life.
"This (award) showed that the movement of insulting Muslims was not accidental but was a planned and organized move that enjoyed support of some Western countries," said Hosseini.
Britain announced its decision to award Rushdie a knighthood on Saturday, along with CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour, a KGB double agent and several others.
London's decision came some three months after Iran detained 15 British sailors and marines for allegedly entering the country's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf - a claim Britain denies. The 15 were released after nearly two weeks in captivity.
Relations with London are also tense over Iran's controversial nuclear program, which Tehran claims is for peaceful purposes, but many Western countries, including Britain, suspect is cover for a weapons program.


Updated : 2021-09-21 11:45 GMT+08:00