As readers of Reason 24/7 already know, the Pakistani government's Railway Minister, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, offered a $100,000 bounty for the "noble cause" of murdering the makers of Innocence of Muslims. You may be relieved to learn that Islamabad's Foreign Office said that the offer was merely "representative of Bilour's personal views and had nothing to do with the official policy of the government of Pakistan."
How did the State Department respond to a minister from a government that receives more than $1 billion a year in U.S. foreign aid begging al-Qaeda to murder American residents for their free speech? Like this:
The State Department said, "The (US) President and Secretary of State have both said the video at the core of this is offensive, disgusting, and reprehensible - but that is no justification for violence, and it is important for responsible leaders to stand up and speak out against violence."
Considering that the State Department condemned the video before and after the U.S. consulate in Karachi came under deadly attacks, then paid $70,000 to broadcast another video-condemning commercial on Pakistani TV before the predictably deadly riots during last Friday's government-sanctioned national holiday of protest, perhaps it might be time to question whether the film-criticism strategy is paying off in its intended goal of staving off violence.
In his new book, Rushdie recounts being urged by the British authorities who were protecting him to "lower the temperature" by issuing a statement that could be taken for an apology. He does so. It fills him almost immediately with regret, and the attacks on him are unabated. He "had taken the weak position and was therefore treated as a weakling," he writes.