Pakistan requests Interpol to criminalise ‘sacrilegious material’

Published: September 18, 2012

The move is aimed at lowering religious tensions across the globe. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan has requested the world’s largest police organisation, Interpol, to draft legislation which would effectively block “sacrilegious materials” available on the internet. The move came in the wake of the anti-Islam film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ on YouTube, which has sparked violence across the Muslim world.

Officials told The Express Tribune on Monday that a formal request has been sent to the Interpol secretary general. The aim of the request, according to the officials, is to decrease religious tensions across the globe.

“Interpol may work out a draft legislation to effectively counter such moves by criminals, which disturbed interfaith harmony and ultimately hurt world peace,” reads a letter the interior ministry sent out to Interpol Secretary General Ronald K Noble.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik requested Noble to take up the matter with major search engines to ensure the removal of such materials. Interpol should urge member countries to draft a new law which would help internet operators in blocking all anti-Islamic matter on the internet, saying that all such material was highly detrimental to the ‘war on terror’, Malik observed.

A draft proposal may be placed before the upcoming meeting of the UN General Assembly to be held in Rome, according to ministry officials.

Previously, a global legal agreement which criminalises any insult to Islam and other religions, similar to that proposed by the interior ministry, has been sought by the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the UN Human Rights Council, now meeting in Geneva.

Every year for more than a decade until 2010 the council, where Pakistan is the OIC spokesperson, or its predecessor committee, as well as the UN General Assembly, passed majority resolutions on resolutions proposed by the OIC.

But these were not converted into an international agreement because of fierce opposition from the United States, European and some Latin American countries, who argued it would violate free speech and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Following diplomatic negotiations spearheaded by the US when the administration of President Barack Obama brought it into the council and support for the project waned, the OIC dropped its campaign two years ago.

“It certainly looks as though they (the OIC) might aim to use this furore over a video everyone recognises is stupid and pathetic to try to relaunch the ‘defamation’ campaign,” said one Western diplomat who asked not to be named.

WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM REUTERS

Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (44)

  • salman
    Sep 18, 2012 - 11:47AM

    Pakistan needs to spend it’s time doing better things. Perhaps educating their people might be a better way of reducing the violent behavior of these people along with creating a more tolerant society.

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  • sfwfbfw
    Sep 18, 2012 - 12:09PM

    Typical Pakistaniat. No understanding of institutions and the limitations of authorities. They could have looked up what Interpol can and can not do first. Just google it; takes 30 seconds. Instead we just go around making wild demands without thinking.

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  • AFGHAN
    Sep 18, 2012 - 12:16PM

    A good move made by Pakistan. All the Muslim countries must join hands with Pakistan on persuading the Interpol on this particular and sensitive issue.

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  • Mahmood
    Sep 18, 2012 - 12:39PM

    So in the US, if you denigrate Islam it’s fine under the first amendment. Even so much as discuss/debate the holocaust and you’re looking at jail time and a life time branding of being anti-semitic. Hooray for hypocrisy!

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  • Tony Singh
    Sep 18, 2012 - 12:42PM

    How about muslim countries resigning from UN membership?

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  • Miya Mitthooo
    Sep 18, 2012 - 12:44PM

    That Decides It…… This Country is run by Bigotted Idiots for the Confused and Illiterate Population who are turning more and more Violent…..Spurred on by Each Other towards Total Madness. May Our Own Gods Help Us!

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  • Amitabh Bachan
    Sep 18, 2012 - 12:50PM

    There should be a Global Law which prohibits mis-use and abuse of religious personalities and scriptures… This cannot go any further, This is absolute Terrorism.Recommend

  • wonderer
    Sep 18, 2012 - 1:19PM

    Considering the reaction in the Muslim countries one can be absolutely sure that such offending material will continue to appear in the world media for the foreseeable future. There is much the muslims have to learn including the right way to register protest in the present day world. Just imagine what would happen if the video is completely ignored. No one will be interested in making and presenting similar material in future.

    In the present circumstances anyone interested in seeing a few Muslims killed, buses burnt or causing mayhem in any muslim country just needs to produce an offending cartoon or video and put it on the net. So easy; isn’t it?

    I challenge any good muslim film-producer to make a similar offending movie on Christ and put it on the net. See the result after that ……….

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  • Haris Chaudhry
    Sep 18, 2012 - 1:55PM

    keep dreaming !!

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  • Amad
    Sep 18, 2012 - 1:59PM

    @ wonderer:
    How can a Good Muslim make an offending movie on Jesus (Prophet)?

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  • sfwfbfw
    Sep 18, 2012 - 2:03PM

    @Mahmood:
    No. In the US you can say whatever you like about the Holocaust. There is no law against it.

    You are confusing the US with a few European countries (Germany and a few others). These countries introduced these laws not because Jews demanded it but because these countries were responsible for the Holocaust and were trying to make sure that Anti-Jew sentiment does not rise again.

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  • wonderer
    Sep 18, 2012 - 2:07PM

    @Amad:

    Sorry. I see your point.

    I do , however, hope you agree with the rationale and logic of the rest of my comment.

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  • TheChimera
    Sep 18, 2012 - 2:16PM

    How about cleaning up Pakistanii media and text books of Hindu bashing and Hindu hating material as a start before going to Interpol(????) for help in preventing free speech?

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  • Ijaz
    Sep 18, 2012 - 2:43PM

    @wonderer:
    In your view if a ‘good muslim’ can make an offending movie then upto what extent a ‘bad muslim’ can go to?

    It is very much clear that Islam is peace loving religion but Muslims are not.

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  • Nasir Taimoori
    Sep 18, 2012 - 2:48PM

    Interpol should urge member countries to draft a new law which would help internet operators in blocking all anti-Islamic matter on the internet, saying that all such material was highly detrimental to the ‘war on terror’, Malik observed.Recommend

  • Hassan
    Sep 18, 2012 - 2:49PM

    @wonderer

    Maybe you completely forgot last year riots in london and other European countries. Crowd psychology and behavior is very complicated. Sometimes even every well educated and decent people do stupid things when they are part of a crowd. Lets not start the blame game. The real problem is not the reaction of muslim community. The problem is the action that caused this reaction. Recommend

  • siddiqui
    Sep 18, 2012 - 3:28PM

    very nice stance of government of paksitan

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  • Thoughtful
    Sep 18, 2012 - 3:37PM

    Of course violence, threatsfor bodily harm, etc Etc are already oulawed including terrorism a la haquanis. Action anyone?

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  • BlackJack
    Sep 18, 2012 - 3:40PM

    Pakistani kids will not have text books if such content is criminalized.

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  • Cautious
    Sep 18, 2012 - 3:54PM

    Your leaders have no clue about the duties and responsibilities of Interpol (which might explain why they haven’t responded to your request to arrest Musharraf) nor do they apparently understand that blasphemy isn’t considered illegal by 5.5 Billion people on this planet.

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  • Imran Con
    Sep 18, 2012 - 3:55PM

    When you want things to come of such requests you should think before you speak. Being a hypocrite will backfire. The only thing it will end up doing is drawing more attention to yourselves in regard to how you act towards others of different religions in your own country to the extent that you get an even worse world image while your complaints fade into insignificance, fast. Drawing that attention is also comparable to defaming your own religion worldwide worse than any movie. A film maker speaks for himself, a government speaks for their entire population and when you claim to be an “Islamic” country it also means its words are always going to be seen as speaking for the religion. You can say people shouldn’t judge your religion based on such things. But, nobody deemed you the representative. You went well out of your way to shoulder that responsibility by your big claims. Followers of a religion are the religion to the ones who don’t follow it because words are only words if they hold no true influence. Nobody cares what’s written but the followers. That is part of *your* life. You not following it should be your own concern and shame alone. The world has to deal with you and your actions, not the book. To them, Islam is whatever has influence in their lives and that comes from the followers of the religion. Right now, that’s nothing but hate, murder and bigotry. You also further go out of your way to defame Islam by pointing out that it says things that the followers never actually do. There’s nothing respectful about people who don’t practice what they preach.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Sep 18, 2012 - 4:29PM

    @Hassan:
    Those riots in London were different. They were spontaneous and are difficult to explain how they started. And even in that case the rioters were later arrested as much as possible.

    The protests in Pakistan and other countries are organized, pre-planned protests by JuD, JI etc. We should certainly speak against these when they turn violent, and organizers should be held responsible.

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  • nitish
    Sep 18, 2012 - 4:43PM

    Hilarious!!!Pakistan, the next world power …..as acclaimed by the great philosopher and scientist Dr zaid hamid.Recommend

  • Suraj
    Sep 18, 2012 - 4:45PM

    Pakistan has no right to forward a request on this subject.. Lost its RIGHT as a state by failing to contain the persecution of its own citizens (minorities, tribes and innocents) from religious rightists as well as from Drone attacks.. It is just watching the daily basis genocide happening across the country without taken any corrective measures….

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  • Hassan
    Sep 18, 2012 - 4:51PM

    @Cautious

    blasphemy isn’t illegal but if someone does a personal attack by saying words/video content to them, it can be sued and punished in court.

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  • wonderer
    Sep 18, 2012 - 5:08PM

    @Hassan:

    Cheers!

    I, for one, would have no objection if Muslim countries and Muslims keep doing what they usually do. Please carry on “reacting” and blaming the “action” till the cows come home.

    I wish you good luck.

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  • Pakistani Pashtoon
    Sep 18, 2012 - 5:48PM

    man just do it peacefully rather than like talibans extremists

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  • Hassan
    Sep 18, 2012 - 5:49PM

    @wonderer

    I wonder why ET took liberty to filter first part of my reply. Its a free world with rules of freedom of speech.

    Regarding your reasoning that its very easy to offend muslims so that they start burning busses and all. I agree that violent protests are not the way. But the protest itself has to be registered. The way to stop these “actions” and “reactions” is that proper international laws are made for stoping hate speech.

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  • Jabberwocky
    Sep 18, 2012 - 5:58PM

    You know most people define terrorism as “killing people to scare even more people until your demands are met.” The irony is very funny when I keep seeing the blasphemous video as terrorism

    Discount the rumored blasphemy of a useless, tiny video… that no one has seen… don’t you think that this was an excuse for the ACTUAL terrorist to whip god-fearing believers into a rage? The original attacks in Libya were very coordinated. There were skilled individuals plotting out the city of Benghazi. RPG usage was very accurate (even for a mob… get what I am saying?)

    Your faith in the Prophet is being used. You are being played like pawns in a very large chess game. Is this not as insulting to you and the Prophet?

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  • Faulitics
    Sep 18, 2012 - 6:26PM

    I find the whole brouhaha over this “anti Islam” film very entertaining. Keep on at the idiocy. Entertain the world.

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  • wonderer
    Sep 18, 2012 - 6:52PM

    @Hassan:

    Don’t wait for “international laws”. They will never come. There will never be a consensus on what constitutes an offense. Just like there can be no international law on terrorism, because my terrorist is your freedom fighter.

    Just try out my suggestion. BTW, I meant a good film maker; not a film maker who is a good Muslim. And, can you define a good Muslim precisely? I can’t.

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  • @plarkin
    Sep 18, 2012 - 7:17PM

    Pakistan hasn’t a clue about the world, or how Interpol works. Silly requests like this make them look foolish.

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  • Cautious
    Sep 18, 2012 - 8:11PM

    @Hassan

    @Cautious

    blasphemy isn’t illegal but if someone
    does a personal attack by saying
    words/video content to them, it can be
    sued and punished in court.

    If it’s not illegal it’s not a crime. You can sue anyone for anything in the United States – that’s done under civil laws not criminal laws and suing doesn’t mean you will win. If you tried to sue someone because they made a movie that offended your religion or hurt your feelings
    it would be thrown out of court and you would be stuck paying the attorney fees incurred by whomever your tried to sue. Lastly – Interpol isn’t in the busy of lobbying for international laws something Malik already knows.

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  • Sep 18, 2012 - 8:47PM

    It is foolish to request UN to draft a bill to stop actions which one may treat is blasphemous. Also what you perceive is blasphemy others may have a different view in it.
    UN can not initiate action on such lines which is unacceptable .. ( this step is taken to appease the sentiments of Muslims at large with vested interests knowing well that this request will get a place in the waste basket.

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  • Cautious
    Sep 18, 2012 - 9:06PM

    @hassan.

    @Cautious

    blasphemy isn’t illegal but if someone
    does a personal attack by saying
    words/video content to them, it can be
    sued and punished in court.

    I suggest you use Wikipedia and research the purpose/scope of Interpol as well as the USA Constitution. It is not a crime to make a film that offends you or your religion. In the USA you do have the ability to sue someone in civil court over any alleged offense – but suing doesn’t mean your will win and in the case of making a film that offends your religion your lawsuit would be thrown out of court and you would get stuck paying the legal fees of whomever you sued. No one forces you to use the internet or watch this film – if it offends you I suggest you don’t watch it. If you want to protest the film – fine – just do so peacefully and understand the USA govt has no ability to censor this film.

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  • Utkarsh
    Sep 18, 2012 - 9:32PM

    @Mahmood:
    Hooray for misinformation and deception!

    Do you know what you’re talking about? There is no such law in US, or any other civilized nation.

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  • IceSoul
    Sep 18, 2012 - 10:36PM

    I always said Pakistani bureaucrats weren’t as good as people thought they were. Merely passing an English exam does not make you fit to run a country.

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  • gp65
    Sep 18, 2012 - 10:55PM

    @Mahmood: “So in the US, if you denigrate Islam it’s fine under the first amendment. Even so much as discuss/debate the holocaust and you’re looking at jail time and a life time branding of being anti-semitic. Hooray for hypocrisy!”

    No jail time in US for holocaust denial. Get your facts right. And by the way please google ‘ atheist stand up comedians’, you will plenty of videos mocking Christianity and there are no laws to prevent it.

    “The way to stop these “actions” and “reactions” is that proper international laws are made for stoping hate speech”

    Forget ” international laws” that apply to the whole world. Tell me if US implements the type of laws you want, will Pakistan in turn make
    – homosexuality legal (gays feelings count too)
    – make holocaust denial illegal (need to worry about Jewish feelings)
    – change the Pakistan study textbooks which write anti-Hindu things?
    – remove the anti Ahmadiya laws that require every Pakistani getting a passport to decry their prophet as a false prophet?
    – make it illegal for mullahs to call all non-Muslims as kafirs/infidels?
    – modify your current anti-blasphemy laws so that they are not abused to oppress Christian minorities?

    Also speaking about interpol – do you plan to act on interpol red corner alert against Hafeed Saeed?

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  • numbersnumbers
    Sep 18, 2012 - 11:51PM

    WOW, Pakistan should show the way by banning all anti-AHMADI, anti-SEMETIC, anti-HINDU, and anti-CHRISTIAN “SACRILEGIOUS material from the Media in Pakistan! Just think, no more Mullahs giving hate filled sermons, no more cable TV “Experts” foaming at the mouth, no more Jihadist Videos praising the killing of “infidels”! ……….NOT!

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  • Asok
    Sep 18, 2012 - 11:56PM

    Interpol is not a legislative body. It cannot criminalize anything. All it can do is investigate and apprehend.

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  • Hassan
    Sep 19, 2012 - 8:56AM

    @wonderer

    I never said I am not in favor of so called freedom fighters – They are terrorists who have killed more muslim brothers and sisters in my Pakistan than any US person. And also there are deals between US and Pak and Pakistan has handed over many terrorists to US.

    But also let me assure you – if some other country attacks US and occupies it – I am sure US will defend their homeland like Afghans are doing in Afghanistan and Iraqis were doing in Iraq.

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  • Sep 21, 2012 - 8:34AM

    @Mahmood:

    There is no law on denial of Holocaust . in USA.

    Denial of holocaust is forbidden in some European countries like Germany, Poland, Belgium, Hungary.( where Nazis had their ghettos and extermination camps.)

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  • Sep 21, 2012 - 8:49AM

    @Ijaz:
    the world will see how Islam has influenced their followers and will perceive Islam based on the actions of its followers.

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  • wonderer
    Sep 21, 2012 - 9:52AM

    @Hassan:

    “I never said I am not in favor of so called freedom fighters…”

    I never said you said that. Please have your way. I wish you well, but you miss my point.

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