Author Salman Rushdie receives controversial knighthood in Britain
Jun 25, 2008, 13:02 GMT
London - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II Wednesday conferred a knighthood on controversial Anglo-Indian author Salman Rushdie a year after the announcement of the honour sparked protests in Muslim countries and provoked a chilling threat from the terrorist al-Qaeda network.
In a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, Rushdie received the honour for his 'services to literature.'
Indian-born Rushdie, 61, enraged opinion in the Muslim world with his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, which was considered blasphemous against Islam by Iran and made him the subject of a fatwa death sentence by the late Ayatollah Khomenei.
The honour also placed a serious strain on relations with Pakistan, which demanded that Britain should withdraw the knighthood. There were also protests in Iran, Malaysia and other parts of the Muslim world.
After imposition of the fatwa in February, 1989, Rushdie was forced into hiding and moved 30 times in an attempt to keep his whereabouts secret.
Over the last 10 years, he has returned to public life, living in London and New York.
Speaking after the ceremony Wednesday, and displaying his knighthood medal, he said: 'It's been a long time - my first novel was published 33 years ago but I think the thing you hope to do as a writer is leave behind a shelf of interesting books and it's great just to have that work recognized.'
Asked about the controversy surrounding his knighthood, he said: 'At this stage, you know, it's certainly not a day to talk about controversy, it's a day for myself and my family to celebrate this.'