RAND says the likelihood of radicals taking over Pakistan is remote. I’m not so sure.

A hard-line Pakistani parliamentarian and head of a religious political party on Wednesday demanded a “sir” title for Osama bin Laden, the lead of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, in retaliation for Britain knighting author Salman Rushdie.

Because, you know, writing a novel and mass murder are morally equivalent. Same same.

“Muslims should confer the ‘sir’ title and all other awards on bin Laden and Mullah Omar in reply to Britain’s shameful decision to knight Rushdie,” Sami ul Haq, leader of the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, said in a statement, referring also to the leader of the Taliban.

One shouldn’t confuse this ul Haq, Sami, with the other ul Haq who turned up promoting suicide bombing to protest Rushdie’s knighthood in yesterday’s post. That ul Haq was only the country’s religious affair minister. This one won election to Pakistan’s parliament on a pro-Taliban platform.

So yeah, radicals have no chance of taking over Pakistan. No worries.

Now that we’re all not at all worried about radicals rising in Pakistan or, say, Malaysia, let’s look at why the British conferred the knighthood on Rushdie. I thought it was an act of courage. I was evidently wrong about that.

Apparently, the committee that recommended Salman Rushdie for a knighthood had no idea that Rushdie’s selection would be taken as an insult by vast sections of the Muslim world. On the contrary, they believed that honoring Rushdie would actually improve Britain’s relations with countries like Pakistan. Whether you think knighting Rushdie was a smart move or not, the fact that the decision was taken in colossal ignorance of its actual symbolic significance shows how profoundly clueless large sections of the European elite must be about the nature and extent of the challenge from the Muslim world.

That certainly casts European rejection of critics like Walter Laqueur and Mark Steyn in a new light. The picture here is of an utterly naive multiculturalism, incapable of perceiving even the most fundamental challenges posed by unassimilated Muslim immigrants–and their home countries.

They granted Rushdie his “K” in their sleep.