UK: Protest over Rushdie's knighthood

A Muslim peer compared Salman Rushdie to the September 11 hijackers yesterday as protests over the author's knighthood escalated.

At Regents Park Mosque in London, demonstrators held up placards saying "May God curse the Queen" and one speaker said that should Tony Blair become an envoy in the Middle East he should be sent back "in a bag".

The Labour peer Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, who was interviewed in Le Figaro newspaper in France, added fuel to the row.

"This honour is given in recognition of services rendered to Great Britain," he said. "Salman Rushdie lives in New York. He is a controversial man who has insulted Muslim people, Christians and the British. He does not deserve the honour.

"Two weeks ago Tony Blair spoke about constructing bridges with Muslims. What hypocrisy. What would one say if the Saudi or Afghan governments honoured the martyrs of the September 11 attacks on the United States?"

The protest at Regents Park was organised by Anjem Choudary, who also organised the protests against the publication in Denmark of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

At the rally, two dozen protesters burned a paper St George's flag and said the Queen should "go to hell.

One speaker referred to Mr Blair's possible role as a Middle East envoy, adding: "I hope Tony Blair comes back in a bag. What bag is up to you.

One placard read: "Rushdie knighthood exposes hatred towards Islam and Muslims.

Leaflets handed out to people leaving the mosque after Friday prayers said: "The British Government's decision to honour Salman Rushdie is a public demonstration of their hatred and contempt towards Islam.

Protesters attacked photographers and one shouted: "Salman Rushdie is a devil. He should be attacked. We as Muslims should never forget how he insulted the prophet.

"We have a responsibility to hold the Queen accountable for standing with the people who insult Islam."

In a letter to more than 500 mosques, the Muslim Council of Britain accused Mr Blair personally of rewarding an author who had "vilified" Islam. "Muslims can only see this action as an attempt to create deep offence to Muslims and divert their attention from contributing to community cohesion in these challenging times," said Muhammad Abdul Bari, the secretary-general.

But he called for peaceful protest.

Source: Telegraph (English)


Reading more of Lord Ahmed's views on the topic, I ran across this quote:

'This man - as you can see - not only provoked violence around the world because of his writings, but there were many people that were killed around the world and honouring the man who has blood on his hands, sort of because of what he did, honouring him I think is going a bit too far,' he said.

In other words, Rushdie, who did not call on anybody to kill anybody else, should be punished since other people called to kill him and thereby started off worldwide riots. That is, if some white racist supremacist would have gone and killed Muslims in protest of Ahmed's being named peer, then that would have, according to Lord Ahmed's logic, make Ahmed himself ineligible for being a peer.

Source: Newspost India (English)

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