Pakistani cabinet minister puts $100,000 bounty on "Innocence of Muslims" director
A Pakistani cabinet minister has put a $100,000 bounty on the head of the creator of Innocence of Muslims, the anti-Islam film that sparked riots across the Middle East and made YouTube's Community Guidelines an international talking point.
Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, a federal railways minister, told an audience in Peshawar on Saturday afternoon that he would deliver the hefty sum to whoever can kill the film's director, a man many believe to be Egyptian-born Californian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
It's an offer Bilour made—he called it a "noble deed"—despite the fact that offering rewards for murder is illegal.
Bilour's statements came one day after another string of riots in his native Pakistan killed 23 and left more than 200 injured. The riots occurred on a day that was supposed to be a peaceful one; in an effort to quell violence around the country, Pakistani officials had deemed Friday "A Day of Love for the Prophet Muhammad."
Those same officials were quick to leave Bilour in the dust in the wake of his Saturday speech. Interviewed several hours after the offer was made, Pakistani press secretary Shafqat Jalil told The New York Times, "We completely dissociate ourselves from the statement of Mr. Bilour." However, he also noted, "The P.M. (Prime Minister) will try to work something out with [Bilour]."
Innocence of Muslims has been issue number one both on YouTube and in the Middle East region since first attracting widespread attention on Sept. 12. Riots have spread throughout Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan, among others. Many countries, including Pakistan, have blocked access to the massive video-sharing site.
Google, which owns YouTube, has come under fire from those countries for its decision to keep the video on site. The company has said that the video does not violate its community guidelines, but question that ruling. Even the White House asked the company to take a closer look.
For now, Innocence of Muslims remains on YouTube—and cabinet ministers in Pakistan can continue putting six-digit bounties on people's heads.
Photo via YouTube