The British government has offended Muslims all over the world by bestowing a knighthood on novelist Salman Rushdie, the top Muslim in India clerics said on Monday. The Ulema Council of India said the decision to honor Indian-born Rushdie reflects the anti-Islamic attitude of the British government.
"Salman Rushdie is a detested figure among Muslims. The British government has hurt Muslim feelings by honoring a person who is facing a fatwa for blasphemous writings," Maulana Abul Hasan of the Ulema council said.
In 1989, Iran's then-spiritual leader, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa or religious edict ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie for his book, "The Satanic Verses," saying the work of fiction insulted Islam.
The threat forced Rushdie, who lives in Britain, into hiding for a decade.
Several Muslim organisations, including the Islamic Center of India, All India Sunni Board and the Ulema Council of India, sent a joint statement to the British High Commission in New Delhi on Sunday, condemning Rushdie's knighthood.
Britain has defended its decision to honor Rushdie, one of the most prominent novelists of the late 20th century. His 13 novels have won numerous awards, including the Booker Prize for "Midnight's Children" in 1981.