Iran accused Britain on Sunday of insulting Islam by awarding a knighthood to Salman Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses prompted the late Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa death warrant for him.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Rushdie, awarded for services to literature in Queen Elizabeth's birthday honours list published on Saturday, was "one of the most hated figures" in the Islamic world.
Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini portrayed the decision as an act directed against Islam by Britain, which is among world powers involved in an escalating standoff with Iran over Tehran's disputed nuclear ambitions. "This act shows that insulting Islamic sacred (values) is not accidental. It is planned, organised, guided and supported by some Western countries," he told a regular briefing.
The Islamic Republic's government formally distanced itself in 1998 from the original fatwa against Rushdie, issued in 1989 by Khomeini who said the book committed blasphemy against Islam. Rushdie lived in hiding for nine years.
But shortly after it disavowed the death edict under a deal with Britain, Iranian media said three Iranian clerics called on followers to kill Rushdie, saying the fatwa was irrevocable and that it was the duty of Muslims to carry it out. Britain's twice-yearly honours ritual — designed to recognise outstanding achievement — is part of an ancient and complex honours system.
Protests in Pakistan
Activists of Jamiat Talaba-e-Arabia chanted slogans and burnt Rushdie’s effigy in Multan June 17, 2007.