The chief of the powerful Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah said Friday that Sunni jihadists have caused more offense to Muslims than any book, cartoon or film.
In a televised speech, Hassan Nasrallah also said Western countries were aiding jihadism by exporting terrorists to Muslim countries.
“Now, more than ever, we need to talk about the prophet (Mohammed) because of the behavior of certain terrorist… groups that claim to be Islamic,” said Nasrallah.
“They offended the prophet of God (Mohammed) more than anyone else in history,” he added.
“Through their shameful, heinous, inhumane and cruel words and acts, [these groups] have offended the prophet, religion… the holy book and the Muslim people more than any other enemy,” said Nasrallah.
And he said that offense was “greater than the books, the films and the cartoons that have insulted the prophet.”
He did not mention cartoons published by French magazine Charlie Hebdo that led two jihadist gunmen to slaughter 12 people at its offices this week, but said the “authors of offensive books and cartoons that were insulting to the prophet” are among Islam’s enemies.
Nasrallah was indirectly referring to “The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie, against whom Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or religious order, to have him killed.
Nasrallah also alluded to a video entitled “The Innocence of Muslims,” which was distributed online in 2012 and caused an uproar among Muslim communities all over the world.
A series of cartoons showing Mohammed were published in a Danish newspaper in 2005 and Charlie Hebdo was among the media that reprinted them.
Hezbollah joined a string of other Islamist parties and movements and called for demonstrations against those cartoons.
Meanwhile, Nasrallah also said France “exported” jihadists to the region.
Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters into neighboring Syria to aid President Bashar Assad in a civil war in which he claims that all his opponents are foreign-backed jihadists.
The regime has frequently singled out France for backing the opposition.
Many members of jihadist groups in Syria are Westerners, from countries including France, the United States and Britain.
Cherif Kouachi, one of the brothers wanted for the Charlie Hebdo massacres, was involved in a Paris network that helped transport radical Muslims to Iraq to join al-Qaeda’s fight against US forces at the height of their intervention.