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Thursday, June 26, 2008
International

Rushdie receives knighthood from British queen

Queen Elizabeth II yesterday gave the British author Salman Rushdie a knighthood which caused protests by Muslims around the world when it was announced last year.

Rushdie, 61, was knighted for his services to literature.

When the knighthood was announced in the queen's birthday honours list last June, it sparked condemnation from a number of Muslim countries and organisations.

A Pakistani government minister at one point suggested the award justified suicide bombings.

And al-Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri warned that the terror network was preparing a "precise response" to Britain's decision to transform Rushdie into "Sir Salman".

In the subsequent furore, British government ministers stressed that they were sorry if people had been upset by the honour, but stressed it was for a lifelong body of work and would not apologise for the award.

"I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honour and am very grateful that my work has been recognised in this way," Rushdie said after the announcement last year.

The Indian-born writer, who was raised as a Sunni Muslim, has lived since 1989 under the shadow of an Iranian fatwa -- or religious decree -- calling for his death over his controversial novel "The Satanic Verses".

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