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Iran envoy protests against Rushdie award

London, June 19, IRNA - Iran Tuesday issued a strong protest to the British government over its decision to give notorious author Salman Rushdie a knighthood.

The protest was delivered by Iranian Ambassador to London, Rasoul Movahedian at a meeting with Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign Office, Peter Ricketts, who is the head of Britain's Diplomatic Service.

The knighthood given to the apostate and forgotten author, which was decided at the high levels, was a pre-planned move to insult the beliefs of Muslims and Islam, Movahedian told Ricketts.

"This will intensify the clash of cultures and civilizations," he warned, referring to the increased anger that has already been expressed in many Muslim countries by rekindling the controversy after 18 years.

The ambassador said that reviving the issue was "also contrary to the interest of Britain and once again will lead to the fury of the Islamic world towards him and his blasphemous book."

He cautioned the British government about the impact of such policies.

"The ill-judged policies of the current government in office will only result in the further isolation of Britain in the Islamic World and damage its credibility," he said quoted by an embassy press release.

British Muslims have accused Prime Minister Tony Blair of being tactless in rekindling the dispute just before he steps down from power next week.

"Many will interpret the knighthood as a final contemptuous parting gift from Tony Blair to the Muslim world," said secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Abdul Bari.

"It's hypocrisy by Tony Blair who two weeks ago was talking about building bridges to mainstream Muslims, and then he's honouring a man who has insulted the British public and been divisive in community relations," Labour peer Lord Ahmed also warned.

... Payvand News - 6/20/07 ... --

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