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Khar tables statement against US hate film at OIC meeting

September 28, 2012

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar speaks at the Asia Society in New York September 27, 2012. Khar is in New York for the 67th UN General Assembly. — Photo by Reuters

NEW YORK: Pakistan introduced a declaration on Friday at an OIC meeting, saying that a recent anti-Islam film violated freedom of expression.

Earlier this week, US President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly that he too found the film disgusting and unacceptable but could not ban it because constitutional guarantees for freedom of speech prevented him from doing so.

At an OIC meeting of foreign ministers in New York, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar rejected the suggestion that freedom of speech allowed spewing hatred against religious figures.

“The international community needs to stand together to decry proponents of hatred working under the garb of freedom of expression,” she said.

“We must promote universal respect for all religions as religion should be used as a bridge, bringing nations together, not as a wall keeping nations apart,” she said in her address to the mee-ting held on the sidelines of the 67th session of UN General Assembly.

The foreign minister urged the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to adopt the declaration by consensus, and conference officials said that OIC foreign ministers were expected to seek consensus on Friday evening.

The declaration called the release of “Innocence of Muslims”, which triggered violent riots in the Muslim world, “despicable”, saying such Islamophobic acts “stand in the way of religion”. It calls on all governments to take appropriate measures, including legislation, against these acts that lead to incitement of hatred, discrimination and violence against persons based on their religion.