Ashraf seeks UN law to ban hate speech

Published: September 22, 2012

Prime Minister Ashraf expressed his sense of regret over the act of people who had tried to defame the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), a most honourable and revered personality.

ISLAMABAD: As protests against the profane film rocked the country, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf demanded of world bodies to draft a law that bans hate speech which ignites the emotions of tens of millions of Muslims across the world.

Addressing the Ishq-e-Rasool (PBUH) conference on Friday, to mark the protest on behalf of the government against the anti-Islam film, Ashraf demanded of the United Nations and other international organisations to devise a law that bans hate speech.

“We ask the UN and other international organisations to create a law that bans hate speech which foments hatred, sows the seeds of discord and stands in violation to the norms of humanity and interfaith harmony,” the premier said.

“Our demand is simple, blasphemy of the kind witnessed in this case is nothing short of hate speech, equal to the worst kind of anti-Semitism and bigotry,” he explained.

Prime Minister Ashraf expressed his sense of regret over the act of people who had tried to defame the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), a most honourable and revered personality.

He said that people are enraged after discovering that “this was a deliberate and premeditated act stemming out of biases of a certain faction.”

He reminded the West that Pakistan was the only Islamic country officially observing a day of protest.

He added that President Zardari would be taking up the issue at the General Assembly of the United Nations next week in his address and would convey the people’s emotions and views to the world body.

While addressing the nation, Ashraf said that it was the collective responsibility of the nation to protest peacefully without causing any damage to the life and property of the people.

“On the occasion of Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool, it is our religious obligation that the protests should remain peaceful,” he asserted.

 ‘Freedom of speech’

During the course of the speech, the prime minister added that there is a surge in sacrilegious material over the past few years and that denigrating the faith under the garb of freedom of speech has become excessively common.

“It is sad that the ‘open-minded’ people of the world – who stand against religious extremism and terrorism and consider disrespecting the sentiments of the common man a violation of human rights –justify hurting religious emotions of nearly 1.5 billion Muslims as freedom of speech.”

Taking a leaf out of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s book, the prime minister gave the example of the Holocaust and how laws have been enacted to protect religious sentiments of the Jewish community.

“…It has become clear now that this is not freedom of speech but Fasad fil-ardh (spreading mischief in the land),” Ashraf asserted.

“No law in the world or a stream of philosophical thought allows disrespecting personalities who are sacred to a wide number of people.”

Freedom of speech, the premier said, is not meant to be exploited for negative purposes, creating an unpleasant environment and fuelling hate rather than instilling peace.

“This is not a service to humanity but an enmity towards it and such rampant freedom which doesn’t distinguish between right and wrong, justice and injustice cannot be allowed at any cost,” an enraged Ashraf remarked.

Ashraf tried to enlighten people about the actual teachings of Islam which strongly condemns any hatred and animosity towards other religions and truly endorses the essence of human rights.

He stressed upon the principles of interfaith harmony, tolerance and respect between all religions and said that it was the lack of these elements in everyday life that cause extremism and terrorism.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2012.

Reader Comments (23)

  • kindlemyfire
    Sep 22, 2012 - 3:50AM

    errr hate speech IS a crime in most countries in the world.
    and there’s a vast difference between blasphemy and hate speech.
    oh and by the way. what about the hate speech peddled out my our local mullahs against minorities every friday? shouldn’t that be curbed too? Look in the mirror before you speak!Recommend

  • Logic Europe
    Sep 22, 2012 - 4:05AM

    A great speech ,very impressive and leader like

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  • Fed Up Indian
    Sep 22, 2012 - 4:06AM

    He can start off by removing hate speech against Ahmadis and non-Muslims in his own country.

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  • a_writer
    Sep 22, 2012 - 5:12AM

    When the Taliban blew up the statues of Buddha in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, I don’t remember any of the followers of Islam demanding that the issue be raised at the UN. Also, I don’t remember any Buddhist running wild eyed in a rampage causing death and destruction to everything in its path

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  • Pk_Paris
    Sep 22, 2012 - 5:25AM

    When are you taking concrete steps to remove hate contents of other religions from text book? Of course blasphemy law and Hindus leaving from Sindh. Clean internal house first then your advise will hold some weight in UN

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  • Typical
    Sep 22, 2012 - 5:33AM

    This is typical Pakistan- speak what you don’t practice.
    If he spoke before the UN, the whole world would have listened with sheer contempt.
    I doubt there is any sympathy in anybody’s mind against the many protesters (both educated & uneducated mindlessly shouting in senseless indignation ) we see on a daily basis on the streets inside Pakistan and other lands.

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  • Kurram
    Sep 22, 2012 - 6:31AM

    Sir you need to do a lot home work first before the world will ever take you seriously.

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  • Pan Mat
    Sep 22, 2012 - 6:36AM

    Great demand from Pak PM!

    Perhaps lead with an example by putting an end to hate speeches spewed inside Pakistan by clergy in the name of jihad. Let us start with likes of Saeed Hafeez and Zaid Hamid……

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  • Observer
    Sep 22, 2012 - 7:30AM

    How about first erasing oppressive and discriminatory anti-ahmedi laws from Pakistan’s legal codes? How about deleting the portions of the Pak constitution that condemn non-Muslims to second rate citizen in perpetuity?

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  • Tariq
    Sep 22, 2012 - 7:40AM

    There is no law in the US against hate speech. If anyone makes this law, than it will be used just like the mullahs do in Pakistan to get even. How can one lousy film get so many people so upset, just shows how illiterate these people are. After asking for this, the Pakistanis are asking for more money and for market access

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  • Selvam
    Sep 22, 2012 - 8:13AM

    If a PPP PM pleads in favor of criminalizing “blasphemy” worldwide than there is little to distinguish this party from the mad mullahs. A shot in the own foot, which will show in the next election results.

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  • Zoro
    Sep 22, 2012 - 8:18AM

    U getting taste of your own medicine ??

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  • Siddique Malik
    Sep 22, 2012 - 8:18AM

    @a_writer:
    Great point.

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  • Siddique Malik
    Sep 22, 2012 - 8:19AM

    @Fed Up Indian:
    Another great point.

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  • hello
    Sep 22, 2012 - 8:23AM

    and then what.. they should legalise corruption. sorry to burst your bubble but the rest of the world doesnt care much about what you or your countrymen think.

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  • Bill Maher
    Sep 22, 2012 - 8:44AM

    We should learn diplomacy, Instead of:
    “Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf demanded of world bodies to draft a law…”

    “Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf REQUESTED of world bodies to draft a law..”

    would have been heard better by the world bodies.
    ..Peace

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  • Harry Stone
    Sep 22, 2012 - 9:01AM

    This is PAK leadership at its best. Now does anyone have a question as to why PAK is a failed nation

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  • Vikas
    Sep 22, 2012 - 9:14AM

    US asks Pakistan to remove all the terrorist from it’s soil. Deal or no deal?

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  • Missmullah
    Sep 22, 2012 - 9:24AM

    Is foundation of Islam is so weak ? Put your own house in order , My friends !!

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  • Cautious
    Sep 22, 2012 - 9:29AM

    No one finds it ironic that a child with down syndrome was almost burned to death by an angry mob trying to enforce Blasphemy laws from the same country that now is trying to convince the UN that blasphemy laws s/b World Wide. One thing about Pakistan – you guys sure have short memories – thankfully the rest of the World doesn’t and your request will fall on deaf ears.

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  • Siddique Malik
    Sep 22, 2012 - 8:57PM

    The problem is not that a nutcase made a disgusting video; the problem is that some Muslims gave that disgusting video attention that it did not deserve. The problem is not that there is freedom of speech in some countries; the problem is that Muslim-majority countries lack in it. Consequently, fanatics and extremists take advantage of the situation by forcing their will on society, and the general public is afraid to speak against these elements. .

    What else are useless politicians going to discuss? It couldn’t be economy, peace, healthcare, education, human rights, women’s equality, clean water, etc. That only leaves religion, and if there is one thing useless politicians know, it is how to exploit religion. It must be election time in Pakistan.

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  • Lewis
    Sep 23, 2012 - 12:47AM

    what about hate actions?

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  • Sep 23, 2012 - 9:37AM

    PM’s declaration of Ishq-e-Rassol day and the demand/ request to UN for ban on hate speech
    is a political move aimed to appease the right wing voters .Nothing more.

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