Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that blasphemy does not count as an expression of artistic freedom but is a “violation of religious freedom”, according to state news agency TASS.
Putin made these remarks during his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday, adding that blasphemy was a violation of “the sacred feelings of people who profess Islam”.
TASS reported that the Russian president also criticised the publication of blasphemous sketches of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Such acts, the report quoted Putin as saying, gave rise to extremist reprisals.
Artistic freedom had its limits and it shouldn’t infringe on other’s freedoms, he added.
The president further stated that Russia had evolved as a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state and so Russians were used to respecting each other’s traditions, according to the report.
In some other countries, this respect came in short supply, he said.
PM welcomes Putin’s remarks
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed Putin’s statement, saying it “reaffirms my message that insulting Holy Prophet (PBUH) is not ‘freedom of expression’.”
“We Muslims, especially Muslim leaders, must spread this message to leaders of the non-Muslim world to counter Islamophobia,” the premier said.
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