Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement that blasphemy is not “freedom of expression”.

The prime minister said President Putin’s statement reaffirms my message that insulting our Holy Prophet (PBUH) is not freedom of expression.

The premier took to Twitter and wrote that “I welcome President Putin’s statement, which reaffirms my message that insulting our Holy Prophet (PBUH) is not ‘freedom of expression’.”

The prime minister said Muslims and especially their leaders must spread this message to leaders of the non-Muslim world to counter Islamophobia.

According to Russian news agency TASS, Putin said on Thursday insulting Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) does not count as freedom of expression.

Putin’s views came during his annual press conference, during which he stressed the importance of “artistic freedom without hindrance to religious freedom”.

Insults to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) are a “violation of religious freedom and the violation of the sacred feelings of people who profess Islam,” Putin said.

The Russian president also expressed his disapproval of websites posting photos of Nazis.

Quoting Putin, TASS said that such acts “give rise to extremist reprisals”, an example of which is the attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris after it published blasphemous cartoons of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Putin praised artistic freedom in general but warned that it is one that has its limits and must never infringe on other freedoms.

The Russian president, according to the publication, said his country has “evolved as a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state”, adding that its people “are used to respecting each other’s traditions”.

Such respect is not found in the same measure in some other countries, Putin remarked.


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