Bounty put on head of anti-Islam filmmaker
Updated: 2012-09-24 07:56
A Pakistani minister offered $100,000 on Saturday to anyone who kills the maker of an online video which insults Islam, as sporadic protests rumbled on across parts of the Muslim world.
"I announce today that this blasphemer, this sinner who has spoken nonsense about the holy Prophet, anyone who murders him, I will reward him with $100,000," Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour told a news conference, to applause.
"I invite the Taliban brothers and the al-Qaida brothers to join me in this blessed mission."
A spokesman for Pakistan's prime minister said the government disassociated itself from the minister's statement.
While many Muslim countries saw mostly peaceful protests on Friday, 15 people were killed in Pakistan during demonstrations over the video.
Bilour spoke to reporters in the northwestern city of Peshawar a day after violent nationwide demonstrations against the film Innocence of Muslims.
Bilour also urged others to shower the killer with cash and gold.
"I also announce that if the government hands this person over to me, my heart says I will finish him with my own hands and then they can hang me."
Protests against the low-budget film, which mocks Islam, have erupted across the Muslim world, leading to more than 50 deaths since the first demonstrations on Sept 11.
A French satirical magazine's publication of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad has further stoked anger.
The producer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is reportedly a Los Angeles-based 55-year-old Egyptian Copt and convicted fraudster, currently out on parole.
US media 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.
Thousands of Islamist activists in Pakistan staged demonstrations again on Saturday but there was no repeat of the previous day's widespread violence.
More than 5,000 protesters, including hundreds of women, marched toward the parliament in Islamabad chanting "We love our Holy Prophet" and "Punishment for those who humiliated our Prophet."
Nakoula has not returned to his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos since leaving voluntarily to be interviewed by federal authorities. His family has since gone into hiding.
In the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Saturday, thousands of Islamist activists and protesters clashed with police who used batons and tear gas to clear an unauthorized protest.
In Kano, northern Nigeria's biggest city, Shiite Muslims have burned US flags, but their protest passed off peacefully.
The demonstrations were less widespread than on Friday, but showed anger still simmered around the world against the film and other insults against Islam in the West.
Showing continued nervousness among Western governments, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called on Muslim countries to protect foreign embassies.
"The governments in host countries have the unconditional obligation to protect foreign missions.
If that doesn't happen, we will emphatically criticize that and if it still doesn't happen it won't go without consequences," he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.
Germany's embassy in Sudan was stormed on Sept 14 as was the US mission in the capital Khartoum where there were deadly clashes between police and protesters against the film.
In the Libyan city of Benghazi, a crowd forced out an Islamist militia some US officials blame for a deadly attack on the US consulate during one of the first protests, on Sept 11.
Ansar al-Sharia, the local militia which denies it was involved in the attack that killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, quit the city after its base was stormed by Libyans angry at armed groups that control parts of the country.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: "It's also an indication that the Libyan people are not comfortable with the voices of a few extremists and those who advocate and perpetrate violence, to drown out the voices and aspirations of the Libyan people."