Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SIR SALMAN THE SUICIDE BOMB TARGET; Pakistan Minister Says Rushdie Attack Is 'Justified'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SIR SALMAN THE SUICIDE BOMB TARGET; Pakistan Minister Says Rushdie Attack Is 'Justified'

Article excerpt

SALMAN RUSHDIE faced fresh threats of suicide attacks this afternoon following his knighthood.

A senior minister in the Pakistani government insisted he be stripped of the honour which was described as an affront to Muslims and a justification to kill the author.

In 1989 Rushdie's book Satanic Verses caused outrage in the Muslim world and led to the issuing of a fatwa calling for his death. Sir Salman went into hiding with round the clock protection but was slowly able to return to public life by 1999.

The inflammatory remarks by religious affairs minister Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq could reignite the threats to his life.

Mr ul-Haq told the Pakistani parliament that the writer's knighthood announced in the Queen's Birthday Honours "was an occasion for the (world's) 1.5billion Muslims to look at the seriousness of this decision".

He added: "The West is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. 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." In the city of Multan, hardline Muslim students burned effigies of the Queen and Rushdie. About 100 students carrying banners condemning the author chanted, "kill him, kill him". …

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