Prime Minister Imran Khan has felicitated the Ummah after United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution designating March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
"I want to congratulate the Muslim Ummah today as our voice against the rising tide of Islamophobia has been heard & the UN has adopted a landmark resolution introduced by Pakistan, on behalf of OIC [Organisation of Islamic Cooperation], designating 15 March as International Day to Combat Islamophobia," the prime minister tweeted on Tuesday.
He further said, "Today UN has finally recognised the grave challenge confronting the world: of Islamophobia, respect for religious symbols & practices & of curtailing systematic hate speech & discrimination against Muslims. Next challenge is to ensure implementation of this landmark resolution."
On the landmark decision of the UN, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi noted that it is a "matter of great pride for Pakistan to have steered this initiative under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan".
Pakistan had introduced the resolution on behalf of the OIC, saying it was aimed at promoting a culture of tolerance and peace globally.
At least 57 members of the OIC and eight other countries, including China and Russia sponsored the resolution.
Under its terms, the resolution strongly deplores all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief and acts directed against their places of worship, as well as all attacks on sites and religious places, including shrines.
“Islamophobia is a reality,” Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan, told the 193-member Assembly, noting that the phenomenon was growing and must be addressed.
On the accomplishment of the country, Akram expressed gratitude, saying "...Alhamdulillah...".
After the adoption of the resolution by consensus, several member states hailed the document, but representatives of India, France, and the European Union expressed reservations that while religious intolerance was prevalent all over the world, it singled out only Islam and excluded others. In fact, Indian Ambassador TS Trimurti complained that the resolution did not cover anti-Hindu phobia, among other religions.
In his introductory remarks, Ambassador Akram said Islamophobia’s manifestations – hate speech, discrimination, and violence against Muslims – were proliferating in several parts of the world.
“Such acts of discrimination, hostility and violence towards Muslim individuals and communities constitute grave violations of their human rights and violate their freedom of religion and belief. They also cause great anguish within the Islamic world,” the Pakistani envoy said.
From the OIC perspective, Ambassador Akram said, the draft resolution served to achieve the following objectives:
- Raise international awareness about the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred;
- Send a clear message that the world opposes all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, negative stereotyping and stigmatisation;
- To promote the message of tolerance, peaceful co-existence and interfaith as well as cultural harmony among all religions, races and nations;
- To demonstrate by commemorating this day unfettered solidarity with all humanity, convey a strong message of respect for human dignity, and reiterate our common commitment to ‘unity in diversity.
“The objective of observing this day is about uniting, not dividing,” Ambassador Akram added.”