Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pakistan Scholars "Knight" Osama Bin Laden

Via Middle East Online -

Pakistani Islamic scholars honoured Osama bin Laden Thursday in response to Britain's knighthood for Salman Rushdie, as a senior ruling party member said he would not hesitate to kill the novelist.

Meanwhile the country's religious affairs minister, who caused outrage by remarking that the award given to the "Satanic Verses" author justified suicide attacks, announced that he may visit Britain next month.

The Pakistani Ulema Council, a private body that claims to be the biggest of its kind in the country with 2,000 scholars, said it had given Bin Laden the title "Saifullah", or Sword of Allah, its top accolade.

"We are pleased to award the title of Saifullah to Osama bin Laden after the British government's decision to bestow the title of 'Sir' on blasphemer Rushdie," council chairman Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said.

"This is the highest title for a Muslim warrior."

Bin Laden has been blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people. He is widely believed to be hiding on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

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