TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran’s parliament speaker said on Sunday the award of a knighthood to author Salman Rushdie, whose novel “The Satanic Verses” outraged many Muslims, was a shameless act and would not go without a Muslim response.
Rushdie was awarded a knighthood for services to literature in the Queens’s birthday honours list.
“The latest act of the British government was shameless and imprudent and can not be interpreted to anything but blind hostility and absolute brainlessness,” parliament speaker Gholamali Haddadadel said in comments carried by state television.
“The Muslims of the world will not leave this imprudent and shameless act without response,” he said without elaborating on what that response would be.
Demonstrations against the award have been held in Pakistan and Malaysia.
Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses” prompted the late Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa death warrant against him in 1989, forcing him into hiding for nine years.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Britain’s ambassador to Tehran on Tuesday to protest against the knighting, calling it a provocative act.
The Islamic Republic’s government formally distanced itself in 1998 from the original fatwa against Rushdie, issued in 1989 by Khomeini who said the book committed blasphemy against Islam.
But shortly after it disavowed the death edict under a deal with Britain, Iranian media said three Iranian clerics called on their followers to kill Rushdie, saying the fatwa was irrevocable.
A senior Iranian cleric said in a sermon at prayers on Friday that the fatwa was “still alive” in the Islamic Republic.
Britain’s twice-yearly honours ritual -- designed to recognise outstanding achievement -- is part of an ancient and complex honours system. A total of 946 honours were handed out in the birthday list, including 21 knighthoods.