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Malawi Muslim cleric denounces call to kill

Sheikh Dinala Chabulika, head of Malawi’s Islamic Information Bureau, has condemned a Pakistani cleric for announcing a US$1 million bounty for anyone who kills the cartoonist who drew the original caricature of the Prophet Muhammad that sparked global Muslim anger.

"Nobody should kill or shed blood in the name of Allah," warned the Malawi cleric in an interview with Malawi’s Sunday Times newspaper.

During Friday prayers on 17 February, Pakistani cleric Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi announced the $1 million bounty to about 1000 people outside the historic Mohabat Khan mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

"This is a unanimous decision by all imams of Islam that whoever insults the prophets deserves to be killed and whoever will take this insulting man to his end, will get this prize," he said, seemingly unaware that 12 different cartoons by different artists were first published by Jyllands-Posten, a Danish daily newspaper.

But Malawi cleric Chabulika noted that Islam is a religion of peace and said the best action was to preach to the cartoonist because he might have done it out of ignorance. What was important, Chabulika said, was to teach the cartoonist that what he did was wrong. Chabulika noted that according to the Muslims’ Holy Book, the Quran, Muhammad was a tolerant person.

"According to the teachings of Islam the solution is not killing the cartoonists," said Chabulika in the interview. "This man has offended the Prophet but the solution is not to kill but teach him."

(c) Ecumenical News International