BRUSSELS: The European Union deplored Monday the call by a Pakistani minister for a $100,000 bounty to be put on the head of the maker of an anti-Islam film which has sparked deadly protests around the world.
“We deplore the call for a bounty,” Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton, told a press briefing.
“We are particularly concerned that this call should come from a member of the government even if the prime minister... has dissociated himself” from the remarks, Mann added.
Earlier on Sunday, the United States had also condemned Pakistani Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour’s offer of the bounty to kill the filmmaker.
Bilour on Saturday had offered a $100,000 “prize” for killing the filmmaker of “Innocence of Muslims” — an amateurish film made in the United States — and invited the Taliban and al Qaeda to take part in the “noble deed.”
The State Department weighed in Sunday, with an official recalling that US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “have both said the video at the core of this is offensive, disgusting, and reprehensible.
The official added: “But that is no justification for violence and it is important for responsible leaders to stand up and speak out against violence.” Therefore we find Mr. Bilour’s announcement is inflammatory and inappropriate,” the official said in a statement.
A spokesman for Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Sunday rejected the bounty promised by the railways minister as a “prize” for killing the filmmaker.
“This is not government policy. We completely dissociate (ourselves) from this,” a spokesman for the prime minister’s office told AFP.
Violent nationwide protests to condemn the film left 23 people dead on Friday when police used tear gas and live rounds to fight back protesters.
The producer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is reported to be a 55-year-old Egyptian Copt and convicted fraudster, based in Los Angeles and currently out on parole.
US reports say Nakoula wrote and produced the disrespectful film, using the pseudonym Sam Bacile before being identified. Police questioned him before he went into hiding with his family.
The film has sparked outrage across the Muslim world, with protests reported in more than 20 countries and over 50 people killed in demonstrations or attacks.