Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Arise, Sir Salman, and we’ll blow you away

It would appear that we have a new definition of ‘honour killings’. British Muslims who happen to acquire an honour from Her Majesty are advised to ensure that their interpretation and propagation of Islamic belief conform to Pakistan’s particular orthodoxy. That is the view of Pakistan’s ‘Religious Affairs Minister’ (what?) Mohammad Ejaz-ul-Haq, and transgression apparently justifies acts of terrorism against the recipient and the British state.

Cranmer was intrigued to see how the reporting of this story developed. According to Sky: ‘Muslims would be right to launch suicide attacks over the Queen's decision to award Salman Rushdie a knighthood… If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so unless the British government apologises and withdraws the 'sir' title.’

The BBC was more moderate: ‘If someone commits suicide bombing to protect the honour of the Prophet Mohammad, his act is justified… Britain's knighthood to the author Salman Rushdie contributes to insulting Islam and may lead to terrorism… The minister later said he had not meant to condone or incite terrorism but stress its origins.’

But the knighthood was indeed condemned by the Pakistan’s National Assembly, and Iran said that it is proof of ‘Islamophobia' among British officials. And if Britain does not withdraw the award, all Muslim countries are called to break off diplomatic relations. (His Grace is scared.)

It would seem that Mr Rushdie’s knighthood has ‘hurt Muslim sentiments’ because The Satanic Verses was deemed to be blasphemous and resulted in Ayatollah Khomeini issuing a fatwa in 1989, ordering the execution of the ‘apostate’. This seems to be the universal opinion of the entire Islamic world, but Cranmer has never met one Muslim in agreement with this view who has actually bothered to read the novel. Britain's fist Muslim peer, Labour's Lord Ahmed, said he was ‘appalled that someone like Salman Rushdie, who has been very provocative and insulting to Muslims and Christians, has been knighted.’ Well, there are some who are appalled that this twit was ever awarded a peerage, but they don’t go around threatening acts of terrorism.

Cranmer has some sympathy for Sir Salman. Being religiously misrepresented and spiritually misunderstood by theologically ignorant clerics and historically illiterate politicians is conducive to neither enlightened discussion nor progressive politics. Indeed, whipped up by a ‘feral media’, the lawless mob is encouraged to bay for blood, and there will be no satisfaction until there is the scent of death. The problem is that it is customary in Islam to execute apostates, while it has become customary in Christianity to award them bishoprics or academic chairs at élite universities.

And yet there is something of Sir Salman’s award that has a slight echo of Pope Benedict’s speech in Regensburg. While the Bishop of Rome is is no theological lightweight, he is not known for his empathetic disposition. He might have expected his quotation of a 14th-century Byzantine assessment of Islam to elicit a degree of contention, but not the global Mohammedan furore that it did. One may therefore conclude that the provocation was accidental. But while Tony Blair is indeed a theological lightweight, he is a master of the public mood, and is fully aware of every possible nuance of every conceivable headline. The decision to award Salman Rushdie a knighthood for services to literature in his final Queen’s birthday honours is an obvious provocation. Indeed, it seems somewhat insensitive to the volatile religio-political situation in which we live, and incongruent with his conciliatory mode of politics.

Cranmer, however, agrees with the Mohammedans to this extent – the award should not have been bestowed. Not because Sir Salman has blasphemed Islam, disrespected ‘the Prophet’, or hurt Muslim sentiments, but because he is a grossly over-rated author with an interminably dull literary style and his books simply aren’t very good.


Blogger Jomo said...

If it were only true. Blair has consistently chosen the road to Munich in his dealings with Islam.

As current events in Gaza and the West Bank illustrate, attempts to come to terms with "the religion of peace" are impossible.

I wonder how long it will take to discover that Fatah on its own is no more likely to deliver peace and security to Israel than any of the other terrorist gangs that threaten it and the West.

The World is in flames from Rabat to Jakarta. The reaction to the K for Rushdie is a symptom of the threat facing this country. Despite this the government continues to see Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as allies in the War on Terror.

Isn't it time to wake up.

19 June 2007 at 08:48  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Salman Rushdie an Indian immigrant that settled in the UK where he wrote his fourth book that incited already unstable Islamic elements around the world to kill and maim people. Provoking hysterical outbursts from an already excitable Islamic mob and then be the recipient of millions of pounds worth of taxpayer funded police protection for years to come until he finally left to settle in the USA.

What on earth has he contributed to anything except to highlight the craven approach of successive UK Governments to Islamic threats of mob violence? I know our honours system is a travesty and has been since Wilson gave the Beatles their trinkets, concerned more in boosting the over inflated egos of all types of celebrities with the annual award of a bauble or two, more like an upmarket Oscars ceremony but for heavens sake Salman Rushdie, which moron though up this slight of hand, he doesn’t even live here anymore.

19 June 2007 at 09:50  
Blogger botogol said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

19 June 2007 at 13:28  
Blogger botogol said...

1 - Rushdie was mad to accept this award. What a triumph of vanity over his common sense! He should have asked to be a knight in petto :-)

2 - I wonder if Blair has done this as an act of spite against Brown. It's certainly an unwanted, potentially explosive, rather insoluable item in his prmie ministrial in-tray. Light blue-touch paper and retire...

19 June 2007 at 13:29  
Anonymous B. Taylor said...

botogol: In regards to your second point, I must say that I considered the same at first, however I doubt Tony Blair would be THAT callous. Leaving Brown to sort out any backlash against a reviled treaty is one thing. Possibly leaving Brown and Britain at the mercy of the Pseudo-Islamic (Any Muslim who believes in the killing of innocent people is no true Muslim in my eyes) hordes is something entirely different.

19 June 2007 at 23:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather than break off diplomatic relations with the UK could I instead urge the offended muslim nations, especially Pakistan, to order all of their expatriates and persons of that ethnicity, currently living in Britain, to return back to their Islamic motherlands. Best thing for everyone really.

19 June 2007 at 23:30  
Blogger The Hitch said...

Your grace
Rushdie is a bit of an ungrateful wanker , but you have to admit , he does have a way with the ladies.
The Hitch would endure any fatwa for 5 minutes with Padma.
The Hitch says good luck to Sir Salman and thank you for his services to the milk marketing board.

19 June 2007 at 23:51  
Anonymous USpace said...

Good one, of course the very peaceful Muslims are justified for destroying the whole world over this. What? The Queen can't Knight someone she likes? She can't knight someone that other people don't like? But I'm sure Sir Rushdie has mixed emotions on this; the Queen has put him in much greater danger.

At least this incident will lose the terrorists even more of their dhimmidiot appeasers.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
always believe in books

of course if it is in print
then you know it must be true

21 June 2007 at 03:00  
Anonymous dearieme said...

Everyone has been wrong. The panel were wrong to recommend it, His Holiness Tone was wrong to agree, Rushdie was wrong to accept it and the Bad Mad Ones are very wrong indeed in their antics. New Labour's Britain.

23 June 2007 at 18:12  

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