Salman Rushdie has been a controversial character for Muslims for nearly twenty years now.Â His book â€˜Satanic Versus' drew a death sentence from Iran's former spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni.Â The Iranians, when under their reformist leadership of Khatami, had previously stated the matter should be considered closed.Â However; â€˜The military organisation, loyal to Iran's supreme leader, said the order was "irrevocable", on the eve of the anniversary of the 1989 fatwa.'
Now that Rushdie has been â€˜Knighted' by Queen Elizabeth II, the controversy from nearly twenty years ago has resurfaced.Â While some rhetoric and further threats were to be expected, clerics and traders in Pakistan are taking this issue to another level.
The traders are publicly offering 10 million Rupees ($165,000 dollars) for anyone who beheads Rushdie, while Islamic scholars have bestowed a top honor on Osama bin Laden of â€˜Salifullah' (Sword of Allah).Â This is effectively condemning a writer to death while praising a murder of thousands.Â While the extremists may not be the majority in Islam, where are the moderate voices denouncing such actions?
Pakistan's leader Musharraf's control of his country is sketchy at best, and the threat of him being overthrown is a very real possibility.Â A nuclear armed country in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists is a terrifying thought, more so however for their nuclear neighbors.Â It was not that long ago that India and Pakistan were edging towards yet another war, and the collapse of Musharraf's regime would more than likely take them back to the brink.
In light of the events of the past 5-6 years, was the â€˜Knighting' of Rushdie a good idea?Â Should Britain have held off on this honor instead of adding yet another log to the fire?Â For all intensive purposes by not doing so would been conceding to their extremism, and placating irrational thought and behavior.Â While this initial backlash may just â€˜pass' without any real â€˜action', was his Knighthood worth the possibility of reprisals against other Britain's and/or Westerners.Â Or even the possible spark that could lead to the overthrow of the Pakistani government?