Islamabad, March 18, 2021 (PPI-OT): The OIC Group in New York organized a high-level event to commemorate “International Day to Combat Islamophobia” today. Following the tragic Christchurch terrorist attack two years ago, the Foreign Ministers of the OIC adopted a resolution designating 15 March as an international day to combat lslamophobia, says a press release today from New York. The high-level event was aimed at effectively raising awareness as well as combating the rising phenomenon of lslamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred. The President of the UN General Assembly, Secretary General of the United Nations, Assistant Secretary General of the OIC and the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) along with a number of Ministers and Permanent Representatives of the UN Member States in New York addressed the event.
Addressing the event, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, reiterated the call for resolute action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, negative stereotyping and stigmatization including Islamophobia. He underlined that commemorating this day globally would raise international awareness about increasing Islamophobia. It would also serve to promote the message of tolerance, peaceful co-existence, interfaith and cultural harmony, sending out a strong message of respect for human dignity for all.
A number of delegations, including the High Representative of UN Alliance of Civilization, fully supported the decision by the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC to designate 15 March as an “International Day to Combat Islamophobia” each year. It may be recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan has been the leading voice in raising awareness on the grave consequences of rising Islamophobia across the globe. In line with his vision, Pakistan presented a Resolution to designate 15 March as the ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’ at the 47th Session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), held in Niamey, Niger, on 27-28 November 2020.
The OIC is now working with the international community to commemorate this Day at the global level. Most speakers at today’s event raised concerns about the global resurgence in Islamophobia and anti-muslim violence, fuelled by populism, hate speech, and lack of proper knowledge and understanding of Islam. It was also underscored that Islamophobia has taken many forms including negative profiling, mob lynchings by cow vigilantes, discriminatory laws, attacks on women for wearing hijabs, travel bans on muslims, negative propaganda and disinformation campaigns against Muslims on media, manifestos of far-right parties, deliberate vandalism of Islamic symbols and holy sites, and attempts to link and equate Islam with terrorism. In this regard, participants urged the UN Secretary General and relevant human rights mechanisms and special procedures to urgently undertake joint action on discrimination and violence emanating from Islamophobia.
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