Say an American Offered a $100,000 Bounty to Anyone Who Killed These Two Pakistanis for Their Offensive Speech

Here’s the story, from the AP:

Ikramullah Shahid, a former Pakistani legislator, has offered a $200,000 (£123,800) bounty for anyone who kills the maker of an anti-Islam film that has angered Muslims around the world.

He made the offer at a rally on Monday in the northwestern city of Peshawar, before a crowd of about 15,000 people….

This is the second such offer made by someone in Pakistan. A federal cabinet minister [Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, the railways minister] earlier offered $100,000 [from his own pocket] for the man behind the American-made film that portrays Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, womanizer and child molester….

Say an American was angered by this speech — understandably so — and offered a $100,000 bounty to anyone who killed Mr. Shahid and Minister Bilour for what they said. Or even if you want to control for Bilour’s being a sitting government official (which in my view is an aggravating factor, not a mitigating one), say that the bounty was only for Shahid. How would the Pakistani government demand that the American government act? Why should we demand any less of the Pakistanis?

To be sure, I don’t want to suggest that solicitation of murder (which leads to the American bounty in my hypothetical) is equal in gravity to blasphemy (which led to the real Pakistani bounty) — it’s much worse, which suggests that we should be even more insistent in the real case than the Pakistanis would be in the hypothetical.

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