Tuesday Mar 15, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday congratulated the Muslim Ummah after the United Nations (UN) finally recognised the grave Islamophobia challenge confronting the world.
"Today, the UN has finally recognised the grave challenge confronting the world: of Islamophobia, respect for religious symbols, and practices and of curtailing systematic hate speech and discrimination against Muslims," the prime minister said in a series of tweets.
The prime minister, as he congratulated the Muslim Ummah, said "our voice against the rising tide of Islamophobia has been heard".
The premier shared that United Nations, comprising 193-member states, has adopted a landmark resolution introduced by Pakistan, on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), designating 15 March as "International Day to Combat Islamophobia".
The resolution was sponsored by 57 members of the OIC, and eight other countries, including China and Russia.
Under its terms, the resolution strongly deplores all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief and such acts directed against their places of worship, as well as all attacks on and in religious places, sites and shrines that are in violation of international law.
The OIC observes March 15 as the day to combat Islamophobia every year after the organisation passed a resolution — presented by Pakistan — at the 47th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in the year in November 2020.
The day (March 15) will mark the Christchurch mosque attack in New Zealand, where 51 people were murdered and dozens of others were injured — the worst mass shooting in the country's history.
PM Imran Khan has raised his voice against the rising trend of Islamophobia at international forums intermittently, including at the UN, and called on the global community to combat the challenge.
In January, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said that Islamophobia is not acceptable at any cost and vowed to make his country safer for Muslims.
In December 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin had said insulting Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) does not count as freedom of expression.
Insults to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) are a "violation of religious freedom and the violation of the sacred feelings of people who profess Islam," Putin had said.
“Islamophobia is a reality,” Permanent Representative of Pakistan Ambassador Munir Akram told the 193-member assembly, noting that the phenomenon was growing and must be addressed.
He said PM Imran Khan was the first to raise the issue of Islamophobia at the UN in his historic 2019 address to the General Assembly and had repeatedly called for international attention and efforts to address it.
— Additional input from APP