Pakistani Foreign Minister: 'Maybe We Do Need to Rethink How Much Freedom is Okay'

September 24, 2012 - 11:17 AM

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Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told CNN's "Situation Room" last week that if freedom of speech in the United States provokes people in the Muslim and Arab world to take actions against Americans then “maybe we do need to rethink how much freedom is okay.”

CNN's Wolf Blitzer told Khar that the previous day he had interviewed Prof. Fouad Ajami of Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Blitzer had asked Ajami: "Is this going to get better, this relationship between America and the Muslim and Arab world?"

Ajami had responded: "No. That really is the honest answer. I mean, when you have these kinds--when you have these positions are so sharply drawn. We believe in the West, we believe in the Western tradition and ... of free speech."

Blitzer asked the Pakistani foreign minister if she agreed with Ajami.

"I see that this certainly can get better," she said. "And I think what we need is more tolerance for each other's views. What we need is to be able to give mutual space for us to be able to demonstrate what is culturally, religiously important to us and not to hold each other--you know, not to judge each other for that, to give that space and to be able to create some space for ourselves.

"And really, Wolf," she said, "I think we have to be sensitive to religious sensitivities. I think it's not good enough to say it's free speech, it should be allowed. I think if this does provoke action against American citizens or Americans anywhere else in the world, then maybe we do need to rethink how much freedom is OK.

"Is freedom to the extent of harming lives also OK?" she said. "So, I think we need to find a way to manage this in a civilized manner in trying to bring all of our, you know, all of our minds together."

When asked about “awful things” said about other religions in the Arab and Muslim world and that there are no massive demonstrations and violence in response, Khar said, “Well, I don’t want to get deeper into that discussion because I quite frankly think that in Islam there is a lot of respect for both Judaism and Christianity. The Koran itself has a lot of respect, and that’s why this is why, I think, this is a common battle because Islam is a religion of peace.”

“Prophet Muhammed’s life is a life of peace,” said Khar. “He is called the messenger of peace, for instance. So this is very different than the Islam that is portrayed to you when you see that street violence."