Earlier this month, Salman Rushdie was knighted, the highest honour bestowed upon a British citizen. You may recall that in 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Rushdie’s death for the insult of Islam caused by his book The Satanic Verses. Despite this being nearly two decades ago, and the Iranian government withdrawing support for the fatwa in 1998, Iran is all in a tizzy over this knighthood. Ali Hosseini, a spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said,
Giving a medal to someone who is among the most detested figures in the Islamic community is … a blatant example of the anti-Islamism of senior British officials.
In response to Iran’s Foreign Ministry, I would point out a difficult lesson most of us learn in childhood: it’s not always about you.
Not that Iran is alone in sticking its nose where it has no business, however. Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, Pakistan’s religious affairs minister, thinks Rushdie’s knighthood is clear justification for suicide bombers to get busy and do their thing. He said,
The West is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body, he would be right to do so unless the British government apologizes and withdraws the ‘sir’ title.
Yea, the West is just crazy. Suicide bombers aren’t any indication of extremism. What’s the wacky West going to say next?
English tabloids were getting into the fray as well. The Daily Telegraph carried the headline “If Pakistanis are so angry, give back our aid.” The Telegraph is referring to the £480 million in aid Britain gave to Pakistan. Interestingly enough, I first read about this in Pakistan’s own The News International.
Don’t people have enough to worry about at home that they don’t need to look abroad for something about which to be offended?