A Pakistani railways minister put a $100,000 bounty on the head of the maker of an anti-Islamic film that’s spurred protests worldwide, calling on the Taliban and al-Qaeda to join in the hunt.
Pakistani official Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, speaking to reporters a day after demonstrations against the “Innocence of Muslims” film left 21 protesters dead and 200 injured, blamed the deaths on the “blasphemer” and urged others to shower whomever kills producer Nakoula Basseley Nakoula with cash and gold, reported the Hindustan Times.
“I announce today that this blasphemer who has abused the holy prophet, if somebody will kill him, I will give that person a prize of $100,000. I also invite Taliban and al-Qaeda brothers to be partners in this noble deed. I also announce that if the government hands this person over to me, my heart says I will finish him with my own hands and then they can hang me.”
The protests against the low-budget film have caused more than 50 deaths since the first demonstrations started on Sept. 11, when Libyan protesters stormed an embassy and murdered U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other personnel.
Nakoula, 55, is based in Los Angeles and is currently on parole for bank fraud charges. He wrote and produced the film, using the name “Sam Bacile” before he was identified. He’s now in hiding, media reports say.
Witnesses estimated that more than 45,000 people joined Friday’s nationwide rallies in Pakistan alone. They are mainly members of the nation’s right-wing religious parties and people who support banned terror organizations.