Rushdie receives gong
LONDON — CNN’s chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, has been honored by the British government.
She was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s annual birthday honors list.
Amanpour, born of British-Iranian parents, has reported from such crisis zones as Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Rwanda and the Balkans.
“I am proud to be part of this tradition,” Amanpour said. “I am stunned and delighted to be recognized in this wonderful way for my work, and of course for being a True Brit!”
Indian-born British scribe Salman Rushdie was awarded a knighthood in the honors list.
While the U.K. Foreign Office commented that Rushdie’s award was “richly deserved,” the decision has caused furore in Iran.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Al Hosseini blasted the choice of the “apostate” Rushdie as “a blatant example of the anti-Islamism of senior British officials.”
Iran originally issued a fatwa advocating Rushdie’s execution in 1989, following the publication of “The Satanic Verses,” a highly critical and sardonic look at the Koran and the life of the prophet Mohammad.
The book’s controversial release also saw book burning sessions among certain sections of Britain’s South Asian Muslim population. Rushdie subsequently spent a number of years in hiding and under armed guard from British security services.
The award comes only days after a minor protest outside the British Embassy in Tehran during the holding of the annual party to commemorate the Queen’s birthday.
Attending Iranian guests were subjected to abuse from an angry mob who also lobbed water cans and tomatoes at the embassy throughout the party.