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Former President Bill Clinton today called for the conviction of European papers that published satirical cartoons of Muhammad, according to reports in the Islamic press and elsewhere.
Clinton condemned the publication of the caricatures by European newspapers and urged countries concerned to convict the publishers, according to the reports.
He said religious convictions of the people should be respected at all costs and no media should be allowed to play with the religious sentiments of people of any faith.
“I strongly disagree with the creation and publication of cartoons that are considered blasphemous by the Muslims around the world,” he said. “I thought it was a mistake.”
Talking to reporters after meeting Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in Islamabad, Clinton said he disagreed with the caricatures and that the publication was against religious and ethical norms. Clinton said he had no objection to peaceful demonstrations, but condemned the violent response. He said it was the time to promote inter-faith harmony and stand together on the issue.
He said the people’s religious convictions should be respected at all costs and that media should not be permitted to criticize other faiths. He said the media could criticize any issue including governments and people, but nobody had the right to play with the sentiments of other faiths.
Clinton said people in the U.S. had also condemned the publication and were deeply concerned over it. He said Americans respected Islam, as it was the fastest-growing religion in the U.S. Clinton also visited President Pervez Musharraf and both men discussed the India-Pakistan peace talks and progress in Afghanistan.