ISLAMABAD: Railways minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, who offered $100,000 for the death of a film-maker who produced an anti-Islam movie, Tuesday stood by the bounty, saying it was the “only way” to stop insults to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
Bilour sparked international condemnation when he offered the blood money and urged the Taliban and al Qaeda to carry out what he called the “noble deed”.
Pakistan’s government and Bilour’s own party have distanced themselves from the reward for the person behind the crudely-made “Innocence of Muslims”, which has sparked violent protests across the Islamic world.
But Bilour insisted public opinion was behind him in Pakistan – which has seen dozens of protests against the film including nationwide rallies on Friday that ended in bloodshed and looting, with 21 people killed.
“I expressed my personal view and faith. I stand by my declaration,” he told AFP.
“My faith is non-violent, but I cannot forgive and tolerate (this insult).”
He said a businessman from Lahore had offered to put up a further $400,000 for the reward and said that freedom of speech should not be used as an excuse to insult Islam.
“Killing is not a good way, but right now it is the only way, because no action has been taken from Western countries (against the film-maker),” he said.
The producer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is reported to be a 55-year-old Egyptian Copt and convicted fraudster, based in Los Angeles and currently out on parole.
US reports say Nakoula wrote and produced the film, using the pseudonym Sam Bacile before being identified. Police questioned him before he went into hiding with his family.
Correction: In an earlier headline, the term “noble” was misspelt. The error has been fixed.