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Iranian Cleric Says Fatwa Against Rushdie 'Still Alive' --> Pakistan has also seen protests against Britain's decision to give Rushdie a knighthood (epa) June 22, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A prominent Iranian cleric says the death sentence issued by Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei against British author Salman Rushdie is "still alive."

Ahmad Khatami's comments in Friday prayers are the latest angry reaction to Britain's decision June 16 to award a knighthood to Rushdie, whose novel "The Satanic Verses" prompted anger in the Muslim world.

In 1989, the late Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa death sentence against Rushdie for blasphemy.

"In the Islamic Iran that revolutionary fatwa of Imam [Khomeini] is still alive and cannot be changed," Khatami told worshippers in Tehran.

In 1998, the Iranian government distanced itself from the death warrant but hardliners have always maintained it remained in effect.

Officials in Iraq and Pakistan have also criticized the title for Rushdie.

(Radio Farda, Reuters, dpa)

Islam In A Pluralistic World

A Muslim woman (left) watches a Christian procession in Madrid in March (AFP)


CONFERENCE ON ISLAM: A major international conference on Islam concluded in Vienna in November 2005 with strong appeals from prominent Muslim leaders to recognize international terrorism as simply "terrorism." Political figures from Islamic countries, including the presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan, argued that it should never be labeled "Islamic" or "Muslim" terrorism because Islam is based on peace, dialogue, and tolerance. "Salaam" -- meaning "peace" -- was the key word of the three-day conference, titled "ISLAM IN A PLURALISTIC WORLD."
Iraqi President Jalal Talibani and Afghan President Hamid Karzai used the word in their remarks to emphasize the peaceful nature of Islam. Other speakers quoted passages from the Koran to the effect that all men and women, regardless of faith, are creatures of God and should live in peace with each other without discrimination...(more)


Listen to Afghan President HAMID KARZAI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
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Listen to UN special envoy LAKHDAR BRAHIMI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
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THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Click on the image to view a thematic webpage devoted to issues of religious tolerance in RFE/RL's broadcast region and around the globe.