'Film an attack on 1.5bn Muslims': Foreign Office summons US envoy to convey protest -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

‘Film an attack on 1.5bn Muslims’: Foreign Office summons US envoy to convey protest

By: Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD: As violence marred the observance of Love for Prophet (PBUH) Day, the Foreign Office summoned US envoy on Friday and demanded action against maker of the offensive and anti-Islam film and removal of its trailer from the YouTube.

US Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Richard Hoagland met Acting Foreign Secretary Alamgir Babar at the Foreign Office, who conveyed to him the government’s concern over the film that has led to agitation throughout the Muslim world.

Though the controversy had gripped the country for over a week now, summoning of the US envoy seemed to have been reserved for the day dedicated to observe the Love for Prophet Day. Summoning the ambassadors of the countries where blasphemous material like caricatures of the Holy Prophet had been published in the past has been a standard response by the Foreign Office.

In a statement by the FO, its spokesman’s said: “A strong protest was lodged with him (the US envoy) over the blasphemous video posted on the YouTube attacking the personage of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).”

Mr Babar told Ambassador Hoagland that the outrageous film was “an attack on 1.5 billion Muslims and a premeditated and a malicious act to spread hatred and violence among people of different faiths”.

The US government was asked to act against the filmmaker and remove the sacrilegious clip from the YouTube.

One of the persons involved with the anti-Islam film Nakoula Besseley Nakoula was earlier this week questioned by US federal law-enforcement agents, but no legal action was initiated against him or any other member of the film team. The film’s mystery producer, who uses pseudonym of Sam Bacile, hasn’t been identified either.

The Pakistan government had earlier directly asked the video-sharing website, YouTube, to remove the provocative material, but its request was not accepted forcing Islamabad to ban access of the YouTube in the country till the removal of the video. Reminding Ambassador Hoagland about the need for inter-faith harmony, Mr Babar noted that spread of hatred among faiths was an attack on humanity itself.

Ambassador Hoagland, in a statement issued by the US Embassy after his visit to the FO for receiving the protest, said: “This act was a deeply insensitive decision by a single individual to disseminate hatred. It does not reflect values of the United States, a nation of more than 300 million people, built upon the pillars of religious freedom and tolerance.”