Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday urged Western governments to outlaw blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad under the guise of freedom of speech on the lines of Holocaust.
Expressing concern over a rising wave of Islamophobia, particularly in the West, Khan, in a series of tweets, said: “I call on Western governments who have outlawed any negative comment on the holocaust to use the same standards to penalize those deliberately spreading their message of hate against Muslims by abusing our Prophet (PBUH).”
“Those in the West, including extreme right politicians, who deliberately indulge in such abuse amp; hate under guise of freedom of speech clearly lack moral sense amp; courage to apologize to the 1.3 bn Muslims for causing this hurt," Khan went on to say.
“We demand an apology from these extremists.”
He said his message to “extremists abroad” who indulge in Islamophobia, and racist slurs to hurt and cause pain to the Muslims across the globe is “we Muslims have the greatest love and respect for our Prophet PBUH who lives in our hearts. We cannot tolerate any such disrespect and abuse.”
His remarks follow a tweet from Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, who had organized a contest of blasphemous caricatures in 2018 sparking global criticism.
Wilders asked Khan to have the head of an anti-France far-right religious group, Saad Rizvi arrested, and ban his “Islamofacist party”, which had issued a religious decree against the anti-Islam lawmaker for organizing the cartoon contest.
Pakistan on Thursday banned the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a religious group that staged protests in major Pakistani cities last week.
The religious group is demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador over the offensive cartoons.
“Let me make clear to people here amp; abroad: Our government 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," Khan said, adding that no one can be above the law and the Constitution.
At least four people, including two policemen, were killed and hundreds injured in pitched battles between the security forces and the TLP supporters across Pakistan in recent days.
Protests had broken out in several Muslim countries over France’s response to the murder in October last year of a teacher who showed cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in class.
French President Emmanuel Macron said at the time that France would “not give up our cartoons” while accusing French Muslims of “separatism” and describing Islam as “a religion in crisis.”