June 21, 2007 -- British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has defended the knighthood given to author Salman Rushdie, but says Britain is "sorry" if the award has caused offense.
Beckett said Rushdie was honored for his body of literary work, and is one of many Muslims who have been given awards under the British honors system.
Officials in Iran, Pakistan, and Iraq have been among Muslims who have criticized the honor, bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II.
Rushdie went into hiding for a decade after Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a death sentence against him for allegedly insulting Islam in his 1988 book "The Satanic Verses."
Rushdie was born in India but is now a British citizen.
(compiled from agency reports)
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