Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II awarded the Order of the Companions to the author of the book “The Satanic Verses” which insulted controversy and protest among Muslims, for his services in the field of literature.
The Companion of Honor is a special award given to those who have made major contributions to the arts, sciences, medicine, or government over a long period of time.
Rushdie, who is now 74 years old, responded to the award given to him through a statement to the PA news agency. He said he was surprised and delighted to receive the award. He said that it is a privilege to be included in such an illustrious company.
Rushdie’s work entitled Satanic versus published in 1988 received a lot of protests and enraged many Muslims around the world because it brought up the character “Mahound” which was alleged to be a thinly and distorted representation of the Prophet Muhammad.
The name Mahound itself has been used in medieval Christian dramas to represent satanic figures, which is why some Muslims conclude that Rushdie is implying the Prophet Muhammad is a false prophet.
In the book, Rushdie also gives the names of the wives of the Prophet Muhammad to twelve prostitutes in a brothel.
He doesn’t stop there, he also uses a discredited and false tradition which he calls satanic verses, which say that the Prophet Muhammad was inspired by Satan to compromise with the people of Makkah to allow them to continue worshiping other deities in an attempt to persuade them to convert to Islam.
The book was banned in Pakistan in November 1988 followed by massive protests against Rushdie and his work in Islamabad in February 1989 that left six protesters dead in an attack on the American Cultural Center, as well as a ransack on the American Express Office. As controversy spread, the book was also banned from circulation in India and burned at protests in the UK.
In mid-February 1988, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s Supreme Leader at the time, issued a fatwa calling for the death of Rushdie and his publisher, however, Rushdie managed to survive as he received 24-hour protection from British police.