How can we push towards peace with the Islamic world, in an evironment when Britain is giving a national award from the Queen to Salman Rushdie?
It's one thing to protect an author, and protect freedom of Speech. But national awards and knghthoods are a totally different matter.
Salman Rushdie has every right to write anything he wants. His publisher has every right to publish his books. Threats and intimidation from the Islamic world, and especially death threats from the butcher mullahs in Iran are absolutely wrong.
But, to provide a knighthood to Rushdie is just flat out wrong. What British interest has he advanced? Was he really one of the highest ranking money makers for the publsihing industry? (I can think of ten other British authors that have produced more cash and not recieved an award).
There is no gain, in provocation. There will only be more polarization and more conspiracy thinking in the Islamic world; and in the end British interests will be damaged. There is no need, no expectation for an award. The award itself can only be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to provoke negative sympathies.
Britain itself, has a large Islamic population. This type of award will only push many to further extremes and create more paranoid fanatics.
We need peace. We need understanding. We need deliberate attempts to quell anger, hatred, and repect.
One, last thing, consider this precedent: In the past century, Britain awarded a similar award to the founder of the Bahai faith (which had many followers in Iran). Subsequently, in Iran all Bahai's were characterized as agents of British influence. The Mullahs in Iran, after the revolution, deliberately rounded up Bahai's and went after them in a similar manner to the Nazi's rounding of the Jews... and imprisoned them, tortured them, stole their businesses, etc.
While clearly, these fascist acts are flat out wrong, my simple point is: there are 'real' implications to handing out such an award to Salman Rushdie. There is no need, at this particular time, to provoke the wrath of moslems and Iran's Mullahs. It will not serve a larger interest, or oprovide any real support a 'greater' cause.
Its just plain stupid and unneccesary. And a sorry final act by Tony Blair's office (to have placed Salman Rushdie on the Knighthood list).