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Pakistan official offers $100,000 reward for killing of maker of anti-Prophet Muhammad film

9:24 AM, Sep 23, 2012   |    comments
Narinder Nanu / AFP - Getty Images A file photo taken on May 19, 2011 shows Pakistani Federal Railways Minister Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour addressing the media in Amritsar.
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by NBC News and news services
A Pakistani government minister on Saturday announced a $100,000 bounty for the killing of the person who produced an online film that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.

Federal Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmed Bilour also asked the Taliban and al-Qaida to extend support to the would-be killer.

Speaking at a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club, the federal minister said whoever is responsible for blasphemy deserves death.

"The American who produced the sacrilegious film in the U.S. is also liable to death and we will shower dollars on the one who killed the blasphemer. If members of the banned militant organizations kill the maker of the blasphemous movie, they will also be rewarded," Bilour announced.

He called for legislation to have the anti-blasphemy law at the global level so that no one could hurt the religious emotions of the Muslims in the name of the freedom of expression.

He said the situation would remain tense until anti-blasphemy law was enacted at the world level.

Bilour condemned the work of the filmmaker, saying it distressed the Muslims across the world. However, he also condemned the violence during the protests on Friday, which was declared a national holiday in honor of Muhammad, saying it could defame Muslims and their religion.

Bilour said the government had already announced that the police and other law-enforcers would give protesters the opportunity to peacefully condemn the filmmaker and would not crack down on them with batons.

At least 15 people were killed and shops and businesses were damaged on Friday during Muslim protests in Pakistan.

The film in question, produced in the U.S. and posted on the Internet under several titles including "Innocence of Muslims," portrays the prophet as a fraud, womanizer and child molester.

The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan has run television spots, one featuring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying the government had nothing to do with the film.

Pakistan had declared Friday a "Day of Love" for the Prophet and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said an attack on Islam's founder was "an attack on the whole 1.5 billion Muslims."

Dozens of people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have been killed this month in violence linked to the film, which also has renewed debate over freedom of expression in the U.S. and in Europe.

Protests continued in the Muslim world on Saturday. Scores of people were injured in clashes in Bangladesh's capital between police and hundreds of demonstrators. In Pakistan, more than 1,500 people, including women and children, rallied in the capital.

Thousands of people also protested Saturday in Nigeria's largest city, Kano. The crowd marched from a mosque to the palace of the Emir of Kano, the region's top spiritual leader for Muslims.

About 200 students in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, chanted "Down with America" and "Long live Islam" in a peaceful protest. Some carried a placard that read, "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger."

NBC's Mushtaq Yusufzai in Pakistan and The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this story.

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