Islamabad, Apr 18: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday urged the governments of Western countries to penalise those deliberately spreading their message of hate against Muslims by disrespecting the Prophet in the same way that they had outlawed any negative comment against the Holocaust.
Khan, in a series of tweets after the recent violent protest by a radical religious group that has now been banned by the government, said that Muslims cannot tolerate any kind of blasphemy in the honour of their Prophet.
“I also call on Western governments who have outlawed any negative comment on the holocaust to use the same standards to penalise those deliberately spreading their message of hate against Muslims by abusing our Prophet,” he said.
Several European countries and Israel have laws against Holocaust denial, the denial of the systematic genocidal killing of approximately six million Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. Many countries also have broader laws that criminalise genocide denial.
Khan said that the extremists abroad, who indulge in Islamophobia and racist slurs to hurt and cause pain to 1.3 billion Muslims across the globe, should understand the love the Muslims have for their Prophet.
“We Muslims have the greatest love & respect for our Prophet who lives in our hearts. We cannot tolerate any such disrespect & abuse,” he tweeted.
He even asked extremists groups in the West to apologise to the Muslims for "deliberately" hurting their religious sentiments.
“Those in the West, including extreme right politicians, who deliberately indulge in such abuse & hate under guise of freedom of speech clearly lack moral sense & courage to apologise to the 1.3 billion Muslims for causing this hurt. We demand an apology from these extremists,” he said.
Khan's tweet came after his government banned radical Islamist party Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) on Thursday following violent protests by it to force the government to expel the French ambassador over a blasphemous caricature published in France last year.
The TLP had launched the country-wide protest on Monday after the arrest of its chief Saad Hussain Rizvi ahead of the April 20 deadline the Islamists had given to the Imran Khan government demanding expulsion of the French ambassador for publication of cartoons of the Prophet.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had signed an agreement with the TLP in November last agreeing to expel the French ambassador.
The government banned the TLP under the Terrorism Act, accusing it of involvement in terrorism and acting in a manner prejudicial to the peace and security of the country. Khan said the decision of banning the group was not taken under any pressure from the outside.
“Let me make clear to people here and abroad: Our govt only took action against TLP under our anti-terrorist law when they challenged the writ of the state and used street violence and attacking the public and law enforcers,” he said, adding that no one can be above the law and the Constitution. The government on Friday temporarily suspended the services of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp to stop their use to organise demonstrations.
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