Honoring Rushdie or Maligning Islam?

Category: Europe, World Affairs Topics: Salman Rushdie, Tony Blair Views: 5701

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. 

It's truly unfortunate that the British government targets our religion on the pretext of fighting terrorism. Islam honors Prophet Jesus and his mother and respects the Bible. 

In his column published in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper last week Zain Alabedin Al-Rikabi asks: "Where is the logic? Where is the conscience? Do the British queen and Prime Minister Tony Blair know that the religion their knighthood cursed and ridiculed is the same religion that:

1. honored the Christ. "Behold! The angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah." (Quran, 3:45)

2. honored the Bible. "And in their footsteps We sent Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: Therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: A guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah." (Quran 5:42)

3. honored Christ's disciples and invited Muslims to follow their example. "O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah. As said Jesus, the son of Mary to the disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah." Said the disciples, "We are Allah's helpers!" Then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed, against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed." (Quran 61:14)

It might be necessary to indicate that Salman Rushdie is ridiculing the Prophet and humiliating Islam. His book is bereft of any literary merit, or linguistic beauty. He can't claim originality of ideas as the majority of the British elite agrees. Jack Straw, former foreign minister and current Commons leader, has cast doubt on Salman Rushdie's knighthood and confessed he found Rushdie's writings incomprehensible.

"I'm afraid I found his books rather difficult and I've never managed to get to the end of any of them, despite a basic rule I have which is if you start a book you have to finish it. I'm afraid his writing has defeated me," he said.

It's also important to note that the British government won't think of honoring any British citizen who does not agree with the Israeli views on the Nazi Holocaust or anyone who criticizes the Israeli policies, however prominent and distinguished this person may be. 

Is it too much to expect from the Islamic world a reaction that is equal to the offense caused to it? Can't we expect condemnations from governments and Parliaments and organizations in the Arab/Muslim Arab world including the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference?

Muhammad Salahuddin is columnist for Arab News and can be reached at [email protected]

  Category: Europe, World Affairs
  Topics: Salman Rushdie, Tony Blair
Views: 5701

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Older Comments:
A FROM DXB said:
I so agree with gobnait and Psalm that Muslims need to get over themself. We as muslims should realize that such tacky acts by the government wont be able to harm Islam or Muslims in any way. Rather any time such initiative is taken against muslims, it just makes the world all the more curious as to what Islam is about, eventually enticing them to accept Islam.

I would advice all my muslim brothers and sisters not to get affected or offended by such trivial matters of people who arent even worth a thought. These are just instigations.

Rather than alloting awards and honoring people, I think every county's government should maybe concentrate a bit more on understanding what terrorism is (rather tahn conquering the easy targets -Muslims) and how to deal with such people.

Oh for heaven's sakes, when AREN'T you guys offended? It doesn't take much. Salahuddin's readiness to be outraged and offended over a perceived insult to Islam is typical of Muslim hyper-sensitivity. You are your own worst enemies in this regard.

this is one of the missionary program of british, to encourage the persons among the muslim comunity to maliging own belief at the name of freedom of expression.

Repitition of their age old scheme


Its muslim stupidity that helped lionize Rushdie. Frankly he is not that great a writer but this whole muslim drama about Satanic Verses has propelled Rushdie into the big league. Much worse things have been said about Islam and the prophet on the internet and in other forums. In this day and age, it is beyond ridiculous for us to protest a book, cartoon etc. It doesnt do anything for us or for Islam besides making us look like fools. Can we cut this drama and go back to dealing with the real issues that face the muslim world?

I thought Mr. Tony Blair is more pragmatic. Honoring Rushdie (The evil man) is a slap on the the face of the Muslim nation. I am afraid this will reduce the chance of his acceptance as an honest envoy in the middle east.


To have mercy and honor by Allah SWT is what every Muslim whishes for as his/her true recognition that's going to last from now on to the hereafter. Those who sincerely and firmly hold the Syahadah : "There's NO god except Allah and Muhammad is His messenger" would seek absolute refuge from Allah from being honored the way Mr.Salman Rushdie did.

Those of us that know the Qur'an, know that this propaganda means nothing. If you think this book is blasphemas read "The Prophet of Doom" It is obvious that the author of that book knows limited Arabic. His interpretations were ridiculous, yet the allegations were serious.I suggest get one from a library so these men do not profit any from the people they hate. Britian lost any respect they have when they sided with Bush. They have knighted gays also, so do not fret. It seems that the more these people degrade Islam, the more reverts we have. Check out all the ex-patriates that have come to the real truth just from being in Iraq and around Muslims. Alhumdullah!! And Psalm, if you read this, you said you have no respect for Shar'iah Law, yet we have all the respect for people of the book and have to respect the laws of the land we live in whether we agree with the government or not. We have to give respect, yet in your own words do not respect us back. Maybe one day you will see the light.

Get over yourself psalm, you're a broken record. Rushdie means little to white terrorists except for his paltry service in defence of empire.

All religion is based on faith. We have no certainty that there is any god or any afterlife. All we know for sure is what we can see here and now on this earth. With that in mind, Muslims really need to learn how to take themselves and their religion less seriously. If you don't like Mr. Rushdie's writing, then read something else. But do not fret over novels.

Remember, It is Almighty Allah who bestows honor and dignity on his servants.Good or bad, everyone and everything is subservient to Allah and therefore we are all servants to him.Let the Brits do what they will.Let us distinguish ourselves by righteous and honorable living.Islam ROCKS Baby!

I don't know who this new knight is, but I know he does not deserve the name "Salman." The real Salman was a real knight and a hero. He didn't need bodyguards and he was humble. If you read this comment, then read about Salman Al Farisi, you will be inspired.

i agree with the writer. the queen has indeed done an act which undermines all the hype about respect for religion etc. a calculated attack on islam. no less



I guess muslims should not keep cursing and cursing without solutions. I am a muslim. and in my opinion, muslims should answer all of those written works that insulted islam by another written works explaining islam. putting a fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie won't change him. trust me. he wont apologize for that. we should answer them by the way they did it.

In all honesty, muslims need to get over themselves.

Salman Rushdie is being honoured for his contribution to literature. One of his works "Midnight's Children" is a MASTERPIECE of note and acknowledged as such.

In 1981 it won the Booker Prize and was later awarded the 'Booker of Bookers' Prize in 1993 as the best novel to be awarded the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. That's a double Booker. A great achievement.

This is even more remarkable as Salman Rushdie is not a native British, and yet has managed to reach such heights. This is wonderful indeed!

So please cut the nonsense about muslims being insulted. The British are entitled to honour this man for his literary talent.

Also, why are muslims whining about the "Satanic Verses"? The book received worldwide attention due to the murderous fatwas from muslims themselve. So, why complain about your own doing?

In Britain, people are recognised for achievement. We have no respect for sharia law and are not bound by islamic decrees.

And so I say CONGRATULATIONS to Sir Salman Rushdie for excellent work!

Poor Salaman Rushdie. He may be a British Knight, but he gets no respect at any airports; he still has to take off his shoes at every airport. And at home, he still have to wash the dishes and make the coffee.

The more muslims oppose him, the more money he makes. Pretty soon, he will have accumulated so much wealth as to be able to afford a Taj Mahal on his tomb.

I have a bad habit of never calling anybody as 'Sir', whether a knight or an official or ordinary person. Well, I will never call him Sir Salman; not that he deserves it; it is just that I don't do it. And that goes for Tony Blair, GWB, and King of Saudi Arabia.

Knighthooding -- another one of those British customs which have no meaning any more but still being practised. May be they should have knighted Linda Lovelace, the porn star of Deep Throat.

Have I read 'Satanic Verses'? Of course, no. I don't read fiction.

Just calm down and ignore the whole thing; the problem will go away.

It is Allah who promised to protect the Quran and the islamic way of life.And nothing in this world can harm islam or the Quran.But the effort to distroy islam didnot start today,It has been going on for 1428 years and it will contineu till the last day.So I am not worried about any writting and opinion whatsoever,because as I have said it is Allah who is going to protect our dean.to Allah we all belong and to Him we shall return.