Britian’s Labour Party leader Jack Straw and Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto have waded into the Salman Rusdie knighthood row. Commons Leader Straw said he found Rushdie’s books “rather difficult”. “I've never managed to get to the end of any of them, despite a basic rule I have which is if you start a book you have to finish it. I'm afraid his writing has defeated me,” he said.
Straw, whose Blackburn constituency has the highest proportion of Muslims in the UK, added he understood the “concerns and sensitivities” triggered by the award. He was answering a question from Paul Rowen, Liberal Democrat MP for Rochdale, who said there was concern at the knighthood in the Muslim community.
In a related development, Bhutto has called for the removal of Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Minister, Ejaz-ul-Haq. for his remarks on Rushdie.