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UNITED NATIONS

Islamic group calls for ban on offending prophet

The head of an organization that represents Muslim countries is calling for a global ban on offending the Prophet Muhammad, saying it should be equated with hate speech.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, says demonstrations throughout Muslim countries this month, provoked by an anti-Islamic film made in the U.S., underscores why legislation is needed.

Some two dozen people were killed in violence surrounding the protests against the film which denigrated Muhammad.

Ihsanoglu said Saturday that while he strongly condemns the violence, a balance had to be struck between free speech and incitement.

Ihsanoglu says that considering the veneration 1.5 billion Muslims have for their religion's founder, any offense to the Prophet Muhammad's character should be considered with the gravity given hate speech