Federal Minister for Interfaith Harmony Paul Bhatti  – File photo by AFP
Federal Minister for Interfaith Harmony Paul Bhatti – File photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Interfaith Harmony Paul Bhatti, on Saturday, slammed the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims,” saying that it has disrupted world peace, and the issue must be brought up in the United Nations, according to DawnNews.

Speaking at a joint press conference along with the Naib Imam of the Lal Masjid Amir Siddique, Bhatti said, “We stand in support of the Muslim world.”

The federal minister reiterated his stance on inter-faith harmony, saying that if people of all religious beliefs stand together, such acts of violence can be prevented. He said that the blasphemous movie had hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims throughout the world.

He asked the Secretary General of United Nations to condemn the film and introduce a charter to stop such elements, playing with the religious sentiments of the people in the cover of freedom of speech, insulting sacred and religious beliefs of the people. “We will not allow anyone to disgrace and insult any religion and belief in the guise of freedom of expression.”

The Naib Imam of Lal Masjid Amir Siddique, meanwhile, said that he backs inter-religion peace and harmony in the country. “A limit must be set on the freedom of speech in the world,” Siddique said.

Bhatti also discussed the security threats faced by Christian girl Rimsha Masih, who was released last week on bail after being charged with blasphemy.

“A security official arranged for Rimsha’s interview with the CNN and we will lodge a police complaint (FIR) against that official,” Bhatti said. He also blamed the US-based television channel of brining the teenage girl under security threat and said that discussions are underway to issue a notice against the channel.


Do you have information you wish to share with Dawn.com? You can email our News Desk to share news tips, reports and general feedback. You can also email the Blog Desk if you have an opinion or narrative to share, or reach out to the Special Projects Desk to send us your Photos, or Videos.

More From This Section

Comments (55) (Closed)


Shoaib Mirza
Sep 16, 2012 10:13pm
Ravi, Agreed. Truth doesn't know bias.
Sanbrown
Sep 15, 2012 10:53pm
WHAT do you mean by "you people"! Mind it, you do not own the lives of the people of world. If it happened to be a factor that the little girl was saved, it was she being minor. Moderate Pakistanis also acted as they were to. CNN for its greediness acted senseless and exposed one to danger who was otherwise out of it. Paul Bhatti has played a very sensible role and should be much appreciated. Freedom of speech and expression is something while hate mongering is other thing. These two cannot be calculated in same scales. Sanbrown - Toronto, Canada
adi
Sep 15, 2012 09:17pm
have watch the trailer ..you know who is Muhammad(PBUH) and his wives(May Allah be pleased with them)...they are our mother, i hope you understand this Mr moderen
tarik
Sep 16, 2012 10:45am
It was the dispensation of fair Justice and good police work. CNN on the other hand is not bothered about the security of Rimsha, they want a story where they can bash Pakistani Islamic law the (Blasphemy law).
Tariq Ahmed
Sep 16, 2012 04:27am
No it was the decency of the Pakistani people and the Pakistani media and the Pakistani government and the Pakistani judiciary who supported this girl, foreign media cant even move an ant in Pakistan.
Chandan
Sep 16, 2012 04:32am
It is not.... CNN has exposed the girl to security threat. I don't know how close you are to the investigation. Knowing the circumstances CNN has just processed a program at the cost of the girl .... and shame on the security personnel who was an accomplice.
Abdullah Hussain
Sep 15, 2012 09:15pm
Absolutely right peoples like you are a tiny minority & shall remain so because you have no principle to follow.
abc
Sep 17, 2012 10:34am
Muslims easily get provoked. please search in youtube, and you will find scores of films mocking religions and its belief, e.g, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus. but, no other religions reacts in the manner, than the followers of the religion of peace.
Concerned for Pakistan
Sep 16, 2012 02:38am
And I only refer to to the comment that Bhatti made about CNN and Rimsha Masih, and not the abomination that that "film" perpetrated .. and yes I admit I tried my best to watch the film to the very end before rendering any critique but I got sickened after the first few minutes and thought that I had seen enough :(
Shoaib Mirza
Sep 16, 2012 10:12pm
Unfortunately, though, us muslims like to take the law into our own hands.
Agha Ata
Sep 15, 2012 06:48pm
Rimshaw's interview with CNN should not be criticized. Please remember it was this kind of International pressure that saved the life of Rimsha. If such publicity of blasphemy is stopped the bigots would be encouraged and even the government would not take any action. It has happened so many times before. Paul Bhatti is a good lawyer but he shouldn’t make the mistake of criticizing a foreign power just to appease the government.
Bashir Mansoori
Sep 16, 2012 01:43am
Good comments from minister and Imam,the issue must be brought up in UN
Rizwan Hamid USA
Sep 16, 2012 03:41am
Parroting garbage to save his own skin. He should have said. " How do you like them apples"
desi
Sep 16, 2012 03:42am
As a muslim, I do not like such movies but that does not mean I would go and destroy innocent people's property or kill anyone, best way to deal with these type of situations is to follow the teaching of Islam and refrain from violence, it only hurt our religion. Best way to deal with the groups like that Youtube and google is to boycott them and not to use them at all, thats the only way they will learn as it will hit their pockets, less searches, less users means less pay per click ads and less revenues and avoid using them for advertisements, if you think about it, you will realize what can be done without violence and they will never publish such a movie or sketches.
Razia
Sep 16, 2012 11:20pm
Yusaf - one more outstanding Muslim! Not a tear drop for poor Rimsha, but generous with the bullets, I see.
kimi
Sep 16, 2012 08:53am
agreed.
Akhlesh
Sep 16, 2012 11:20pm
No such censor board exists! You too, Haris, can release your own movie on Youtube.
Akhlesh
Sep 16, 2012 11:19pm
Most likely, the Imaam was in favor of encouraging blasphemy against other religions!
Adil Jadoon
Sep 15, 2012 11:39pm
Wishfull thinking.
an khan
Sep 15, 2012 10:16pm
I agree.
Cyrus Howell
Sep 15, 2012 10:26pm
The prerequisite for free speech is free thinking.
Akhlesh
Sep 16, 2012 11:24pm
I agree with you Waqas. Free speech should be fought with free speech, not violence. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bishop Desmond Tutu have shown us that way!
ujmalik
Sep 15, 2012 10:07pm
I am sorry but the credit goes to the very vocal progressive elements of Pakistani society which saved this girl! Stop taking credit away from the indigenous local efforts - enough of this colonialist-superiority-complex-nonsense!
HM, Canada
Sep 15, 2012 08:23pm
Well done Bhatti.
sayeed Altaf Hussein
Sep 17, 2012 01:41pm
Nirmal, The fact is one religion allows such things as in Hinduism and the other doesn't as in Islam, Christianity and Judaism. We should respect all religions as we have been taught by our religion.
Ravi
Sep 16, 2012 07:02am
Comments are welcome but senseless killing of innocent persons who have nothing do with making of offensive film is not justified by islamic teachings. If anybody thinks it is justified, he is completely ignorant of islamic teachings which promote peace harmony with other religions and people..
haris
Sep 16, 2012 08:29am
Ravi cant agree more with you. But plz also acknowledge that movie which insulted the very core of islamic belief should not be released at 1st place from the censor board of america(if it exists) let alone translating in Arabic and releasing in different countries to deliberately annoy and provoke Muslims. And this is not the first time!! 1st it was "draw Muhammad day" then "Burning of Holy Quran" then THIS movie.. taking place year after year. So dont blame the patience of people as enough is enough.
Ak
Sep 15, 2012 09:20pm
we are thank full to them, but her security has been compromised to get few ratting for CNN, understand the issue first, we are not ungrateful, it is just common sense should prevail then emotion.
Shabut
Sep 17, 2012 04:49am
I will believe you when this same so called free media (CNN) can cover the cases with same zealous and vigor against minorities in America where many incidents of murder and hate crime against minorities go unnoticed and unreported. Bobs, don't ask me to provide you any examples since you will be embarrassed by the long list.
Ak
Sep 15, 2012 09:21pm
over emotion*
Shiv Kumar
Sep 17, 2012 06:01am
if you mean what you say you belong to humanity but see what most of your followers are doing all in name of Islam.to kill and to destroy. other religions have been abused,ridiculed and denigrated in films but nobody reacted in this way??
Yawar
Sep 16, 2012 12:55am
I dont see the security issue in the case of a Rimsha Masih interview. Let the press remain open and free in Pakistan.
Shabut
Sep 17, 2012 06:17am
By the way, I'm not sure which freedom of speech and expression are you referring to since it is only available when it is convenient. A small example, many school districts in America reprimand or discipline kids for wearing tea shirts that have certain wording or symbols that according to school district may not be appropriate. If there is freedom of expression then who is it school district to decide what and what is not morally correct. A lot of the parents try to justify with the same excuse that there is freedom of speech and expression so their kids should be allowed to wear whatever they like or think. There are many similar examples that could be cited. The truth is that the spirit of the freedom of speech has been lost and people are trying to exploit it for their pity gains.
urawal
Sep 17, 2012 07:09am
Oh God , CNN is so scared after his warning ! What action is he going to take........not specified......... Do some real work on interfaith harmony.....It is much needed now ..............
Tariq
Sep 17, 2012 11:09am
What a comment Jamhura !!! UN has many important things to do, Agree but are you opined that such nonsense created chaos is not an important issue. Please make correction to your scale of judgement.
Jamhura
Sep 15, 2012 09:12pm
Bhatti's blurbs regarding the CNN just dont make sense. Also the UN has more importah things to do than keep tabs on the Utube....The US government cannot control everything its citizens do, like Russia and most of the Third world.
Yusaf
Sep 16, 2012 02:04am
"a security official arranged for Rismha's interview with CNN"....... This security official should be shot!
Ravi
Sep 16, 2012 07:11am
I am surprised, there was big demonstrations and noise without even verifying involvement of christian girl in burning holy quran pages. But not even a single soul in Pakistan raised a voice against imam who burned the pages and tried to imlicate innocent girl. This is obviously a double standard, People should use their logic and common sense, instead of following imams and their misguided promotion of violence in society.
Nirmal
Sep 16, 2012 02:17am
Indian artist MF Hussain made nude pictures of God & Godess, but muslims did'nt notice blasphemy. Where had their Imaan gone at that time ?
Abdullah Hussain
Sep 17, 2012 12:55pm
Christians living in Pakistan are very safe. Mr. Bhatti has shown his respect for Islam & Muslims. Other than very few isolated case, Christians in Pakistan are well received & respected. Your suggestion for Mr. Bhatti to move out to wast is childish.
Rizwan Hamid USA
Sep 16, 2012 03:43am
I agree. If the maker of the film does not have free speech, then all who are angry, do not have the free speech to protest
Gerry D'Cunha
Sep 16, 2012 10:49am
they have not only descrated Prophet Muhhammad but they have in the past even descrated Jesus Christ by making and staging degrading film on him in london theatres but the christians were told in the churches to send their protest to their local MPs and not to give publicity to the film by open protest.Our muslim brothers should also follow the same example - these sort of people need more publicity for their films.
ABB
Sep 16, 2012 05:24pm
Mr. Bhatti with due respect your courage to speak against this idiotic video made by one person who many American think out of his mind make no sense making fun of other's faith. In America we have freedom of speech that allow every human being to speak his or her mind. I am personally against this movie that has hurt millions of Muslims around the world and took over Ambassador's life who had served in Libya for many years. I am Pakistani christian and condemn this movie that has hurt my fellow Pakistanis or Muslims brothers feeling around the world. Mr. Bhatti christian girl's life saved because it had tremendous pressure from the International Media and western countries, my personal suggestion you and your family you still has time and opportunity to move west Move one your brother was killed look after yourself and move to west God Bless Pakistan
Guest
Sep 15, 2012 10:33pm
Muslims are free to reply to the film or better still ignore it. The freedom of speech does have limits, you can not use it to incite violence. Religions must be open to criticism and even ridicule, do you revere beliefs like Scientology, Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) or Rationalism?
Waqas
Sep 15, 2012 06:16pm
Free speech should be fought with free speech, not free action. Sadly people like me are a tiny minority as compared to the screaming majority.
Mo
Sep 15, 2012 06:11pm
Poor minister. He did not/could not (because of limitations of on his freedom of speech and his own fears of speaking his mind) condemn the violence. He says 'We will not allow anyone' implying that we have control over what others say. Wake up minister. He also says “A limit must be set on the freedom of speech in the world,” - who do you think should set that limit, Mullahs in Pakistan. Why letting Rimsha speak to CNN was a bad idea ? Shouldn't Rimsha have the right to tell her side of the story to the world ? The mister does not want the world to know how minorities are treated in Pakistan ? The minister does not seem to be a freedom loving man. I think the minister was made to say those things. I really feel sorry for him.
Jon Rosendall
Sep 15, 2012 05:53pm
Bhatti is a simple tribesman in a suit. Pakistan needs better minds than this at the top. The film has not disrupted world peace. Rather, reactionaries have disrupted world peace. As long as people at this level of government in muslim countries hold this attitude, the west will keep islamic republics at bay. The Secretary General of the UN can do nothing here. Bhatti should rather send him a kite with instructions on how to fly it. Lead your country yourself! Be a man! The UN can do nothing you! But there can be no limit to free speech in America or anywhere else, just because others are not capable of dealing with it. In America the immoral and foolish say things against God and His people often. But it does not demand murder in response. God is not behind the rage fueled murders of innocent people. He does not need mad zealots murdering innocent people to avenge His honor. The men who have been dishonored and murdered could have spent their lives safe and comfortable at home, but instead dared to serve in the Middle East for the hope of all. Bhatti's emphasis on the film and not the wrongs of the murders, tells all.
Bobs
Sep 15, 2012 05:21pm
its the involvement of foreign media which saved this girl. You should be thankful to them not criticize them..you people are so ungrateful..
millerd
Sep 17, 2012 12:24pm
MF Hussain should be condemn at all levels. No one has the right to hurt religious sentiments of believers of other faiths.I have read many preposterous comments in TOI maligning Muslim religion and abusing their prophets . Those who take notice of MF Hussain abhorring transgressions should also take a look at blatant disregard of other faith religious sensitivities in Indian press. As for condemning MF Hussain I am right behind you
MHK
Sep 15, 2012 03:49pm
Religion is a very sensitive issue. Muslims have never taught and practiced to speak against any religion. Muslims have never spoken anything against Prophet Jesus because Muslims believe that Prophet Jesus was one of the prophets sent by God Almighty and Muslims hold him in great esteem. Prophet Jesus's name has also been mentioned in Holy Qutan. Freedom of speech does NOT mean that one can speak anything he likes. One always should respect the sentiments of other religion.
M. Asghar
Sep 15, 2012 03:40pm
The CNN and the Wall street Journal are a part of the same entreprises trying to create the mayhem around for certain lobbies in the US.
jaurs
Sep 15, 2012 03:38pm
It's quite amazing that a rogue actor in the US causes such an outrage when the violent beheadings and archaic treatment of so many people in Pakistan, South Asia and the Middle East doesn't spark the same outrage. Regarding limits about free speech - what about the political parties in Pakistan inciting violence against Shias, the West and anyone else who is different then them? Where is the outrage over that? Where is the outrage over the hatred Iran's administration speaks over Israel? Very hypocritical. Countries that don't protect their own people and that can't maintain law and order should stop making excuses and blaming others and look to themselves for real solutions.
sf
Sep 16, 2012 06:57pm
But my freind you forget the hate mongering among Pakistani Mullas that have resulted in hundreds being killed in Pakistan. And these are locals of different beliefs.
sf
Sep 16, 2012 07:01pm
Are you sure? May be you are not in touch with realty.
Ali Raza
Sep 16, 2012 07:02pm
mr Jon, freedom of speech doesn't mean that you start playing with peoples emotions. it may be OK to abuse your elders or your parents or your religious personalities in your part of the world, but its not the same everywhere. we do have some respect rather a lot of respect in ourselves for others and especially for our beloved Prophet (May Peace Be Upon Him) . and freedom of expression is used as a tool against Muslims so we will not allow that at any cost.. say the right thing the right way or else don't do such things that put you in danger