ISLAMABAD, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Friday criticized the notion of insulting religious beliefs and inciting hatred on the excuse of the freedom of expression.
Speaking at a function in Islamabad as part of the nationwide protest against the anti-Islam film made in the United States, he said no one should be allowed to defame religion on the excuse of freedom of expression.
"Let me make it absolutely clear: this is not about freedom of expression, this is more about hatred, and it also demonstrates blatant double-standards," PM Ashraf said.
"If denying the Holocaust is a crime, then is it not fair and legitimate for Muslims to demand that denigrating and demeaning Islam's holiest personality is no less a crime?" he asked.
The official function was organized as part of the protest in the country against the movie which has triggered protests across the Muslim world.
The Pakistani PM appreciated those in the international community who have joined Muslims in strongly condemning this outrageous movie.
He condemned the attempts to insult the Muslim Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), and said that an attack on the Prophet is an attack on the core belief of 1.5 billion Muslims, which is unacceptable.
"Our faith remains incomplete without total devotion and reverence to the Holy Prophet Muhammad," he said.
He said the anger, anguish and hurt is even deeper after the discovery that this was a deliberate, premeditated act of mischief- mongers based on bias, hatred and prejudice.
"We have to translate our strong sentiments into a unified policy based on coordination with other Muslim countries so that the Muslim Ummah speaks with one voice on this issue."
He told the audience that the President of Pakistan will convey the emotions and views of the people when he addresses the UN General Assembly in New York next week.
"We are coordinating with other Muslim countries as well. Our demand is simple: blasphemy of the kind witnessed in this case is nothing short of hate speech, equal to the worst kind of anti- Semitism or other kinds of bigotry," Ashraf said.
He demanded that the United Nations and other international organizations seek a law that bans such hate speech aimed at fomenting hatred and sowing the seeds of discord through such falsehoods, which is a grave violation of all basic norms of humanity, international law, interfaith harmony and UN Conventions on religious freedom, tolerance and civilized conduct.
"For us as Muslims, respect and reverence for Prophets of other religions is part of our cardinal beliefs. We hope and expect similar respect and reverence for the Holy Prophet Muhammad," he said.
Pakistan summons U.S. envoy over anti-Islam film
ISLAMABAD, Sep. 21 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan on Friday summoned the U.S. Charg D'Affaires Richard Hoagland to the Foreign Ministry and a strong protest was lodged with him over the blasphemous video posted on the YouTube attacking the personage of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
"The U.S. diplomat was told that this was an attack on 1.5 billion Muslims and a premeditated and a malicious act to spread hatred and violence among people of different faiths," the Foreign Ministry said. Full story