UK & World News
Pakistan PM Condemns $100k Islam Film Bounty
The Pakistani government has condemned a minister's offer of $100,000 for anyone who kills the maker of a controversial film that mocks the Prophet Mohammed.
The country's railways minister invited the Taliban and al Qaeda to help kill the filmmaker behind Innocence of Muslims, which sparked violent protests around the world.
Ghulam Ahmed Bilour told reporters in the northwestern city of Peshawar: "I announce today that this blasphemer who has abused the holy prophet, if somebody will kill him, I will give that person a prize of $100,000.
"I also invite Taliban and al Qaeda brothers to be partners in this noble deed.
"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."
However a spokesman for Pakistan's prime minister said the government "absolutely disassociated" itself from the minister's statement.
Protests against the film left 21 people dead and more than 200 injured across Pakistan on Friday. Another day of demonstrations by thousands of Pakistanis was largely peaceful.
Speaking on Sky News, Pakistan's High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan said he did not approve of the bounty, but that the minister was "acting out of anger".
He also accused the US of "using al Qaeda" in Syria to help overthrow President Bashar al Assad.
He said: "To denigrate the Prophet is a very hurtful thing ... Osama bin Laden was declared a terrorist to the world, so should this man (the filmmaker) be described as a terrorist to the world because he has inflamed 1.4 billion Muslims?"
He added: "Can't we ask, or anyone in Pakistan, can't they ask al Qaeda or the Taliban - brothers in faith - to help fight this terrorist, when the present American administration is using al Qaeda in Syria to topple Bashar al Assad's government? So why double standards?"
More than 5,000 protesters marched towards the parliament in the capital Islamabad, including hundreds of women, chanting "We love our Holy Prophet" and "Punishment for those who humiliated our Prophet".
In the eastern city of Lahore. about 1,500 people rallied in front of the US consulate chanting: "The US deserves only one remedy - jihad, jihad".
Hundreds gathered in the southwestern city of Quetta, calling for the makers of the film to be killed while scores in Peshawar, where six people died in Friday's protests, shouted anti-US slogans.
The low-quality production was made in the US, but a clip, translated into Arabic, has been circulating on the internet.
In it, the Prophet Mohammed is portrayed as a fraud, a womaniser and a child molester.
According to the US media, the producer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is a 55-year-old Egyptian Copt and convicted fraudster who lives in Los Angeles.
Nakoula, who has been questioned by law enforcement agencies over suggestions that making the film may have breached the terms of his parole, is said to have produced the movie under the pseudonym Sam Bacile. He is now reportedly in hiding with his family.
In Nigeria, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the second city Kano to protests against the film.
The crowd - which set fire to images of President Obama and stamped on US flags - stretched for several miles through the city centre.
The demonstration was organised by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, a pro-Iranian group that adheres to the Shia branch of Islam.
"We are out today to express our rage and disapproval over this blasphemous film," said Muhammed Turi, a protest leader and member of the Islamic Movement which organised a similar rally earlier this week in the northern city of Zaria.
Scores of people were injured as Bangladeshi demonstrators clashed with police in Dhaka.
The violence erupted when authorities attempted to halt the demonstration, police said. Authorities have banned all protests near the city's main Baitul Mokarram mosque after more than 2,000 people marched on Friday.