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  Global Views
Degrees Conferred on Rushdie & Laden
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
Salman Rushdie, the British wirter of Indian origin wrote controversial "The Satanic Verses."

The name of Salman Rushdie, a controversial writer of Indian origin has again become a common word. Now the reason for this is not any book written by Rushdie but the honour of having a degree of 'Knighthood' conferred upon him by the Britain. Before partition, this honour was given to the educationists of high level & even to some persons enjoying good respect among the public. This degree was also conferred on the persons who were in the good books of the British rulers. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Allama Iqbal & Allama Mashriqi are the persons who had been awarded this honour. Besides them, there are many other persons who have been given this honour of 'Knighthood' & conferred the degree 'Sir.' In last days, the British Queen Elizabeth II, on her birthday made a declaration of conferring a degree of 'Knight' on 950 persons including 60-year-old Salman Rushdie.

There is a natural reaction among the people of the Muslim world after the grant of this honour of 'Knighthood' to Salman Rushdie. The countries like Pakistan & Iran have shown their resentment on this honour given to Salman Rushdie. Many countries of the world have expressed their anger for the British government on this issue. To be remembered that Salman Rushdie was at the peak of his fame, when in 1988, his most controversial novel- 'The Satanic Verses' was published. Although his first ever novel 'Grims' had already been published in 1975, but this novel was unable to attract any interest from the readers & literary persons. After that his second novel 'The Midnight Children' was published. This novel enabled Rushdie to win The Booker Award. After that in 1993, Rushdie was given a special award 'Booker of Bookers.' His novel was considered the best among the novels that were given The Bookers award in the last 25 years. After his fourth book 'The Satanic Verses' he reached the top of his fame & controversy.

Salman Rushdie, in this controversial novel, 'The Satanic Verses', has pictured a struggle between the God & the Satan. In it he has shown his deep imagination & philosophy. The names & characteristics of the persons written in this book resemble with the names & characters of Prophet Hazrat Mohammad & some of the members of his family. That's why the book 'The Satanic Verses' has been banned in many countries of the world including India. In this book, inter alia, there is blasphemy & insult to Prophet Hazrat Mohammad. After publication of this book, the Muslims of the world looked down upon Salman Rushdie. The chief spiritual leader in Iran Ayatollah Khomeini issued Fatwa (a religious order) for the death of Salman Rushdie in 1989. For about a decade after that till 1999, Rushdie was away from the public life as a banished but under the security of Scotland Yard. Although in 1998, the Iran government had declared that now the Iran government doesn't second the fatwa against Rushdie but some Islamic Scholars are of the view that the Iran government has no right to withdraw the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini & Fatwa for death of Rushdie still stands.

Anyhow, in this sensitive age when there is a common opinion if an undeclared war has started for the culture & civilization between the Islam world & the western countries? It is worth knowing that on what basis the British government has selected Salman Rushdie for awarding the degree of 'Sir'? Is it not true that Salman Rushdie has hurt the feelings of the Muslim world by writing his controversial book 'The Satanic Verses'? By conferring the degree 'Sir' on Salman Rushdie, the British government has tried to water the plants of hatred for the Muslims of the world. Is it the main ability for it to oppose the religion, historic traditions & civilization, according to the British government?

In Iran a strong reaction was shown on the award of Knighthood to Salman Rushdie by stating that Britain has given the award to the person who is most disliked in the Muslim world. This shows the Anti-Muslim attitude of the British administration. To award the Knighthood to Salman Rushdie shows the extent to which the British administration supports the Anti-Muslim thoughts. There was a censure motion in the Parliament of Pakistan on this issue. In a resolution passed in the Pak National Assembly, it was said that by awarding Rushdie, the Muslims feelings have been hurt. The persons who oppose this award are of the view that it shows that the British government is suffering form Islamofobia. This group also believes that awarding Salman Rushdie will also encourage the persons who criticize Prophet Hazrat Mohammad. The minister of Religious Affairs in Pakistan has gone to the extent of saying that the award of Salman Rushdie will increase suicidal attacks. This statement of the Pak minister has worked as a warning for the British government.

Whereas the award of Knighthood is being criticized all over, the persons who are extremists & in favour of Islamic thoughts have got a golden chance. The Ulema Council in Pakistan has answered the decision of the British government in the same coin. The notorious terrorist considered to be responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attack in America, Osama Bin Laden, is declared to have a degree Saifullah (The Sword of God). Saifullah or the Sword of Allah is the highest award from the Pakistan Ulema Council. According to the chief of the organization, Osama Bin Laden deserves this award because he is a true Muslim warrior & is fighting for the spread of Islam.

Undoubtedly the award of Rushdie has hurt the feelings of the Muslim world because the novel of Rushdie, The Satanic Verses was objectionable. But on the contrary, the award of Saifullah to Laden also expresses the feelings of extreme terrorism. If the pen of Rushdie deserves to be called blasphemy, the works of Laden are also Anti-Islam. Today, on the boundary of Afghanistan near Pakistan, it may be Afghanistan or Iraq; all the attacks on the Muslim countries by NATO armies or the American allies are because of the organization Al Qaida. The root of Al Qaida is in the hands of one man & that is Osama Bin Laden. Al Qaida is a secret organization & its works are not Pro-Muslim. Saifullah or the Sword of God can never be synonym for the cruelty & terror. The owner of Saifullah can't be a coward hero who is hiding himself in caves. Osama Bin Laden has hurt the Islam even more than Rushdie. Today the Islam is being associated with terror & that is only because of Osama Bin Laden. To say Saifullah to such a person is an insult to God. It was better if the persons who criticize Salman Rushdie would have looked into the actions of Osama Bin Laden. Those who consider Salman Rushdie Anti-Muslim should impartially think over the works of Osama Bin Laden. If it had been so, Osama Bin Laden would have been awarded the degree 'Laanatullah' (The Condemnable by God) & not Saifullah (The Sword of God).

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Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is a member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.






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