The Straits Times
Published on Sep 24, 2012

Iran president Ahmadinejad condemns anti-Islam film


NEW YORK (AFP) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday sharply criticised the film mocking Islam that has sparked deadly anti-American protests in the Muslim world, but also called for restraint.

"Fundamentally, first of all, any action that is provocative, offends the religious thoughts and feelings of any people, we condemn," told CNN.

More than 50 people have died in protests and attacks around the world linked to the low-budget film, which mocks Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, since demonstrations first broke out on Sept 11, including the US ambassador to Libya.

"Offending the Holy Prophet is quite ugly," Dr Ahmadinejad said. "This has very little or nothing to do with freedom and freedom of speech. This is the weakness of and the abuse of freedom, and in many places it is a crime.

"It shouldn't take place and I do hope the day will come in which politicians will not seek to offend those whom others hold holy." However, when asked about comments by Pakistani Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, who on Saturday offered a US$100,000 (S$122,543) "prize" for killing the filmmaker of Innocence Of Muslims, the Iranian president urged restraint.

"Likewise, we condemn any type of extremism," he said. "We also believe that this must also be resolved in a humane atmosphere, in a participatory environment and we do not like anyone losing their lives or being killed for any reason, anywhere in the world."