Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan drew backlash last month for claiming there is “no mention” of Jesus in history and for encouraging stricter blasphemy laws.
Khan made his controversial statements on Nov. 20, which marks the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday. During the speech, he compared Jesus to Mohammed.
“There were prophets of Allah other [than Mohammad], but there is no mention of them in human history. There is negligible mention of them. Moses is mentioned, but there is no mention of Jesus in history,” he said, according to a translation posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“But the entire life of Mohammed, who was Allah’s last prophet, is part of history,” Khan added.
Pakistani PM Imran Khan Says “No Mention of Jesus in History,” Announces Intl. Anti-Blasphemy Convention: The West Should Be Made to Understand Our Love for Muhammad pic.twitter.com/i8C6wVzbIb
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) November 27, 2018
The prime minister also talked about Pakistan’s efforts to crack down on blasphemy outside of the country. In Pakistan, insulting Mohammed is a crime worthy of death.
Khan praised his foreign minister for his involvement with the cancellation of a Mohammad cartoon drawing contest in the Netherlands earlier this year.
He also said Pakistan’s lobbying in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations has worked to fight blasphemy in Western countries. For example, the European Court of Human Rights last month upheld an Austrian court’s conviction of a woman who compared Mohammed’s marriage to a 6-year-old child to pedophilia.
Khan praised the court for ruling against the woman.
“Something happened that had never happened before. The European Union’s Human Rights Court said for the first time that you cannot hurt somebody’s religion under the pretext of freedom of speech, and especially it said that you cannot blaspheme against Mohammed’s honor,” he said.
Meanwhile, he also said violent protests against blasphemy are misinterpreted by the West.
“Every few years, in some Western country, our dear Prophet is blasphemed against and dishonored. What is the consequence of this? Muslims become angry. We take to the streets in protest, [protesters] break things in our country… It enables the enemies of Muslims to tell people in the West: ‘See, Islam is a big religion that spreads violence,'” he said. “They get an opportunity to spread propaganda against Islam.”
He also urged countries worldwide to adopt an “International Convention on Preventing the Defamation of Religions.” He said the goal is to ensure that “freedom of speech cannot be used as a pretext to hurt the world’s 1.25 billion Muslims.”
Essentially, he is calling for the erosion of free speech to protect Mohammad’s reputation.
Khan said Pakistan would play a leading role in this effort.
The prime minister’s speech comes at a time when radical Muslims in Pakistan are calling for the murder of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of insulting Mohammed.
She was recently acquitted of all charges but remains in harm’s way while she and her family seek asylum in the West.
Radical extremists are also calling for the execution of the Pakistani Supreme Court judges who freed her.