RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin won the hearts of millions of Muslims across the globe when he stated on Friday that insulting holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) does not count as an expression of artistic freedom but is a violation of religious freedom.
During his annual press conference, he said the insult to holy Prophet is a violation of the sacred feelings of people who profess Islam.
The very statement is vindication of the stance of Muslim world and needs to be welcomed at the wider level.
Prime Minister Imran Khan who has always spoken highly against Islamophobia at all the international forums including the UN General Assembly taking the lead commended the statement of Russian President saying this is reaffirmation of his message that insulting the holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is not freedom of expression.
When polarization is permeating and posing a serious threat to the peace and stability, it is need of the hour to take the world towards cohesion and interfaith harmony, and saner voices such as Vladmir Putin needs to be supported and promoted.
In his remarks, the Russian President also condemned the publication of blasphemous sketches of holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) in French Magazine Charlie Hebdo. Other world leaders especially from the western countries and those who backed the elements involved in such despicable acts also need to correct their course.
They should not back those elements whose acts are venomous in nature and may create a wedge in the societies. The content that hurts the sentiments of the people under no circumstances can be called freedom of expression.
Nobody should be given the liberty to attack the religious sensitivities of the people either Muslims or others. Instead of emboldening these evil minds, there is a need to discourage them by defining the boundaries of freedom of expression.
The situation also warrants initiation of a grand dialogue on interfaith harmony in order to promote greater understanding of each other’s viewpoint. Responsibility rests greater with the Muslim leaders to come forward in a big manner and take steps towards apprising the world about the sensitivities of the Ummah.