That Salman Rushdie’s “knighthood” should evoke from Islamic extremists violent reaction and “offense” is itself offensive. Free-speech is a principle upon which I shall not waver. If Islamic extremists, religious lunatics and fanatics, feel that the mere writing of a book – which the most extreme and reactionary Islamists have not read and most likely could not – justifies calls for murder and suicide bombing, I have to say that their violent opinion is beneath contempt. Their extreme, bigoted and violent views simply serve no practical role in either the judging of the literary worth of works of fiction or the rewarding of those who produce exemplary literature, such as Salman Rushdie.
It is the decision of the British who they knight - for reasons which they so choose, in this case, very good reasons indeed - and the reaction of crazed Mullahs in Tehran and in Pakistan are simply irrelevant and beneath contempt. Freedom of speech simply cannot be denigrated on account of violent religious hysteria.
As for the so-called “moderates” and “liberals” who advocate the taking of said violent views as justly put and further, worst of all, sympathize with the small factions of Islamic extremists who claim “offense” and who advocate murder, suicide bombing and violence in general, I wonder if they realize that by so doing they are legitimizing as the true voice of Muslims world over the violent extremist fringe which, in reality, a majority of Muslims reject as blasphemers and apostate lunatics. They are, in effect, legitimizing as representative of all Muslims the very extremists who put to death moderate and liberal Muslims, shame on them.