[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Clerics to honour Osama bin Laden
Al-Qaeda leader to be awarded title in response to Salman Rushdie's knighthood.
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2007 14:43 GMT
Hundreds of Pakistanis have  protested
against Rushdie's knighthood [EPA]

A group of Pakistani religious leaders led by a pro-Taliban figure has said it will bestow a title on Osama bin Laden in response to Britain's decision to grant a knighthood to Salman Rushdie.
 
Allama Tahir Ashrafi, head of the Pakistan Ulema Council, said on Thursday that the group would give bin Laden the title Saifullah.
The name means "Sword of God" and would be given to the al-Qaeda leader for "serving Muslims by waging jihad against infidels".
 
Ashrafi said: "If Britain can give a knighthood to Rushdie, we too have the right to make awards to our leaders and heroes."
He said that while he was not in contact with bin Laden, the award would reach the fugitive al-Qaeda chief "at an appropriate time".

Ashrafi said his group represented more than 3,000 religious leaders. However, Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, Pakistan's religious affairs minister, said he was not familiar with the group.
 
Tensions

Ul-Haq has stirred tensions by suggesting the knighthood could justify suicide attacks and undermine Pakistan's effort against "terrorism".

Your Views

"It is up to the UK to decide who is deserving of knighthood for their country."

rezasantorini, Chicago, US

Send us your views

On Thursday, he said he would travel to Britain soon to meet Muslim scholars and promote interfaith harmony.

Religious parties in Pakistan, a predominantly Muslim state of 160 million people, have called for nationwide protests on Friday to condemn Britain for bestowing the honour on Rushdie.

On Thursday, about 200 people rallied in the eastern city of Multan chanting "We are ready to die for Prophet Muhammad's honour" and "Down with Britain".

Pakistan, a close ally of Britain and the US, has condemned the knighthood for Rushdie, who has been accused of insulting Islam in his novel The Satanic Verses.

Protesters have burned effigies of Rushdie and Queen Elizabeth II on the streets of Pakistani cities and demanded that Britain take back the award - a request London has refused.
Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.