The Senate of Pakistan has passed a resolution this week to condemn a cartoon contest of the Islamic prophet Mohammed organised by Dutch firebrand and anti-Islamisation campaigner Geert Wilders.
The resolution, which was signed by leaders of Pakistan’s political parties, accuses Wilders of “inciting hatred, racial prejudice, unrest, conflict and insecurity in a world that has already seen much bloodshed, racism, extremism, intolerance and Islamophobia”, Pakistani English-language newspaper The News International reports.
“Since under the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, Islam is the state religion and it is the responsibility of the State to preserve, protect and promote Islam, therefore, it must stand up and articulate the general will of the Muslims of Pakistan against the proposed competition,” the resolution adds.
The Senate recommended the Pakistani government not only lodge a formal complaint with the Dutch embassy in Islamabad but also take the issue to the United Nations.
“The government should agitate this issue at the UN General Assembly for developing global consensus against such blasphemous initiatives by a handful of mischief mongers whose sole aim seems to be creating communal discord and social unrest,” the resolution states.
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“The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony should constitute a Committee of Muslim intellectuals and experts to deliberate on the issue and frame workable proposals for preventing such blasphemous movies, cartoons books and other such content,” it adds.
Pakistani Prime Minister and former cricketer Imran Khan commented on the resolution shortly after it was passed saying: “To make such moves is very easy there. The incidents after Salman Rushdie issue make it very easy for those who promote hate in the West. The repeated occurrence of such blasphemous acts is a collective failure of the Muslim Ummah.”
Others in Pakistan have reacted to the contest much more radically. In a social media post, Pakistan cricketer Khalid Latif, who was involved in a corruption scandal, offered three million Pakistani rupees (£189,000/$244,000) for someone to “kill the Dutchmen” behind the contest.
Mr Wilders announced the contest in June and said it would take place sometime later this year.
Writing for Breitbart London, Wilders described his motivation for the contest saying: “The contest is not intended to provoke or insult anyone. We organise it because freedom of speech is the most important freedom we have. Today, this freedom is under attack from two sides. Both Islam and our own Western political elites are trying to restrict that freedom. They both try to gag us.”