In todays news: Pakistani Muslims set fire to a Union Flag in protest at the announcement of Sir Salman Rushdieâ€™s Knighthood in The Queenâ€™s Birthday Honours List. Sir Salman was one of 950 people to appear on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, which is aimed at recognising outstanding achievement.
Pakistanâ€™s Religious Affairs minister said it showed an “utter lack of sensitivity”, and â€œIf someone exploded a bomb on his [Salman Rushdieâ€™s] body he would be right to do so unless the British Government apologises and withdraws the ‘Sir’ title,â€ and that â€œIf someone commits suicide bombing to protect the honour of the Prophet Muhammad, his act is justified.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Director for Europe, Ebrahim Rahimpour, said: “This insulting, suspicious and improper act by the British government is an obvious example of fighting against Islam. It has seriously wounded the beliefs of 1.5 billion Muslims and followers of other religions. The British government and Queen Elizabeth II are responsible for the circumstance of this provocation”.
Iran’s foreign ministry said the knighthood was a “provocative act”.
Britain denied that the award was intended to insult Islam, and that it was for services to literature.
Sir Salman has said he was thrilled by the honour
First off, I donâ€™t see why we should bow to anyoneâ€™s demands because they are offended by something. Sections of this religion stamp their feet, set fire to things and run amok screaming, and killing so often, that it is becoming increasingly hard for the ordinary man and woman of the Western world to relate to them at all. If you want to alienate yourselves and be seen as a bunch of mindless third-world terrorists, then carry on.
I donâ€™t know much about Islam, but what I do know has mostly come from a well-respected female member of their community in America that I know personally, and I know for certain that killing, murder and mayhem is NOT part of Islam. Promising bloodshed in the name ofÂ Muhammad is a smoke screen. I suggest education is the problem here, not the religion.
And a Muslim minister thinks suicide bombings are now justified because of this? How can this man be allowed to continue in office? Britain is called â€œprovocativeâ€ for handing Sir Salman an honour, yet promises of suicide bombings isnâ€™t? Oh, itâ€™s ok, you can get away with it because the West has been walking around on egg-shells for years in case it offends a Muslim. God forbid.
And how can we take Iran seriously in all this? This is the same nation that issued a fatwa (execution order) against Sir Salman in 1989 for something he allegedly wrote in a book. As a writer and a believer of freedom of speech I think this is appalling and only shows nations that believe this is acceptable to be cruel, sadistic, backwards thinking, and empty of morality.
You see the threats and intimidations donâ€™t work. Islam is not some form of master religion, nor is Christianity, Protestantism, Catholicism or anything else. Personally I believe in none of it. If that offends any Tims, Huns, Bible bashers or Muslims, then tough shit. This is a free country and Iâ€™ll say what I like.
Sir Salmon Rushdie can say whatever he likes too. And I like that. I don’t like people who jump on the hysterical bandwagon and begin burning flags and threatening terror. All they do is justify OUR cause; the cause of freedom and self-expression.
The tickets for the Book Festival went on sale at 9:30am this morning and the website crashed at 9:31am. I couldnâ€™t get through by phone either, so I had to wait -Â and wait – and wait. The longer I waited, the more I thought I would get none of first choice events that I had scribbled down on the A4 pad next to me on my desk.
Eventually I got logged on and slowly made my way throughÂ my list, delighting that they were all still for sale. Then it came to the checkout, and it just would not play ball. Why not phone? you might ask -Â because the phone line was jammed solid too and I couldn’t get a line.
After much patience, though, I managed to get my hands on tickets for these prized events:
Val McDermid & Denise Mina – Crime writing
Iain Banks – Scottish writing legend in discussion
Ruth Rendell in conversation with Ian Rankin – Two crime writing legends in discussion
Ian Rankin – talks about his final Rebus novel
Louise Welsh – great Scottish writer talking abuot her new book
Jacqueline Wilson – (of Tracey Beaker fame) children’s event – talks about her inspirations and daydreams (for Laura, Gail and me)
Janice Galloway & Alan Warner – two of scotland’s best talking about writing and publishing
William McIlvanney – Scottish legend in discussion
Julian Clary – Gay icon and comedian talks about his debut novel
How to get Published – inside knowledge with Nicola Morgan (author), Jenny Brown (agent), and Bob McDevitt (publisher)
Publishing and the Future – with local agents and publishers, Jenny Brown, Lorraine Fannin (Publishing Scotland), Hugh Andrew (Birlinn Publishing), and Jenny Todd (Canongate Books).
My latest weekly article is now up at The Dog Blog. Please check it out.
I worked heavily on The Script until I grew too tired to even look at it. So I worked on more of the freelance website work I also have on. Time is money.