Rushdie furore stuns honours committee

From The Guardian:

Rushdie The committee that recommended Salman Rushdie for a knighthood did not discuss any possible political ramifications and never imagined that the award would provoke the furious response that it has done in parts of the Muslim world, the Guardian has learnt. It also emerged yesterday that the writers’ organisation that led the lobbying for the author of Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses to be knighted had originally hoped that the honour would lead to better relations between Britain and Asia.

The news came as the row spread around the world and the British high commissioner in Islamabad made representations to the Pakistani government over remarks supposedly made by the minister for religious affairs, Mohammed Ejaz ul-Haq, in which he appeared to justify suicide bombings as a response to the award. Rushdie was celebrating his 60th birthday in London yesterday and is not commenting on the latest threats to his life. It is understood he is anxious not to inflame the situation. Scotland Yard declined to comment as a matter of policy on whether the writer has been given police protection.

More here.