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Pak condemns Rushdie's knighthood

world Updated: Jun 18, 2007 13:46 IST

Pakistan's parliament on Monday unanimously condemned Britain's award of a knighthood to author Salman Rushdie and asked for the title to be withdrawn to avoid offending Muslims.

Indian-born Rushdie, 59, was forced to go into hiding for a decade after Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 issued a death sentence over his book "The Satanic Verses," claiming it insulted Islam.

Rushdie was awarded the knighthood by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday.

"This house strongly condemns the title of Sir awarded to Salman Rushdie," parliamentary affairs minister Sher Afgan said, reading the resolution passed by Pakistan's lower house, the national assembly.

"We demand from Britain to refrain from such acts which hurt the sentiments of Muslims and take back the title of Sir given to Rushdie," Afgan said.

The resolution added that the award would encourage "contempt" for the Prophet Mohammed.

Pakistan is an Islamic republic, like neighbouring Iran, and its population of 160 million people is overwhelmingly Muslim. Five people were killed in Islamabad in 1989 in riots against Rushdie's book.