Dr.Daniel Pipes’ recent article reveals some interesting truths about the thinking behind the knighting of the “Satanic Verses” author, Salman Rushdie, and the Muslim world’s response, especially from Pakistan. D.Pipes writes:
“Is the knighting of Salman Rushdie, 60, by the queen of England “a sign of the changing mood” toward British Muslims, as Observer columnist Nick Cohen wrote? Is it “a welcome example of … British backbone,” as Islamism specialist Sadanand Dhume described it in the Wall Street Journal?
I think not. Rather, the knighting, announced June 16, was done without heed of its implications.
Most of the uproar against the honor is taking place in Pakistan, as it did in 1988, when Sir Salman’s novel, The Satanic Verses, was initially published. “We deplore the decision of the British government to knight him,” a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said The lower house of parliament unanimously passed a government-backed resolution calling Rushdie a “blasphemer.”
Pipes then goes on to quote one of the more outspoken Muslims of the day, concerning the Muslim “streets” reaction to Rushdie’s knighthood, Irshad Manji, a female Canadian Muslim author/activist:
“Fortunately, some Muslims decried these reactions. Canadian writer Irshad Manji noted that the Pakistani government had nothing to say about “assaults on fellow believers” in Kabul and Baghdad, where Islamist terrorism killed more than 100 Muslims. “I am offended that amid the internecine carnage, a professed atheist named Salman Rushdie tops the to-do list,” she wrote.”
Pakistan’s minister of religious affairs, Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq’s endorsement of suicide bombing against the United Kingdom is just one indicator of how volatile the situation is.
“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.” Ijaz ul-Haq later added that “If someone commits suicide bombing to protect the honor of the Prophet Muhammad, his act is justified.”
I draw two conclusions: First, Rushdie should plan around the fact of Khomeini’s edict being permanent, to expire only when he does. Second, the British government should take seriously the official Pakistani threat of suicide terrorism, which amounts to a declaration of war and an operational endorsement. So far, it has not done that.
Other than an ambassadorial statement of “deep concern,” Whitehall insists that the minister’s threat will not harm a “very good relationship” with Pakistan. It has even indicated that Ijaz ul-Haq is welcome in Britain if on a private visit. (Are suicide bombers also welcome, so long as they are not guests of the government?) Until the Pakistani authorities retract and apologize for Ijaz ul-Haq’s outrageous statement, London must not conduct business-as-usual with Islamabad. Now that would constitute “British backbone.”