Monday, June 18, 2007

Our 'allies' in Islamabad

"This is an occasion for the 1.5 billion Muslims to look at the seriousness of this decision. The west is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so unless the British government apologises and withdraws the 'sir' title."

Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, Religious Affairs Minister, speaking to the Pakistani parliament in Islamabad today.

So there we have it. A member of a government which is a staunch 'ally' of the US and Britain believes suicide bombing to be an appropriate response to the award of a knighthood to the novelist Salman Rushdie. (Incidentally, I don't think Rushdie, a pretentious and highly over-rated writer deserved such an award, but that is by the by). Don't hold your breath for condemnation from the 'muscular' left, or the last few inhabitants of Planet Neo-Con: their interest in spreading 'democracy' doesn't seem to extend to the corrupt, human-rights abusing dictatorship that is Pakistan.

1 comment:

David Lindsay said...

Salman Rushdie is not a sympathetic character. His books are largely unreadable, he is a shameless self-publicist, and he ended up as pretty much the only person in the world keeping up the idea that the fatwa against him was still a genuine threat, regularly doing so live on BBC Two late at night, not to mention about the bars and restaurants favoured by the London literati. Who'd have thought to look for him there, eh?

But no one should be remotely surprised at the Pakistani reaction to his knighthood. Pakistan is a key Islamic ally of neoconservatism. As is Saudi Arabia, as are the Chechens, as is the vile Kosovo "Liberation" Army, as is the soon-to-be-restored Caliphate of Turkey, as was the repulsive Alija Izetbegovic, and as were the founders of the Taliban. So what else did anyone expect?

It is no coincidence that Iqbal Sacranie, who used to march under banners reading "Rushdie Must Die", became an Establishment figure over exactly the same years that Marxist neo-Labour stalwarts (John Reid, Charles Clarke, Alan Milburn, Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt, Harriet Harman, David Aaronovitch, Christopher Hitchens, John Lloyd, Martin Jacques...) did so, though, like them, without the slightest modification in his views on anything that really mattered.

And since we now have Sir Iqbal, then why not Sir Salman? Indeed, since we now have Sir Iqbal, who else might as well also be knighted, and why?