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UN designates March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday unanimously adopted a landmark resolution introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC Countries designating March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

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In his statement on the designation of March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the resolution reflects the sentiments of more than 1.5 billion Muslims all around the world.

The foreign minister said that it’ a matter of great satisfaction and pride for Pakistan to have steered this initiative under the leadership and guidance of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was the first Muslim leader to raise the issue of Islamophobia at the UN in his maiden address to the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2019. The prime minister has since been regularly advocating the need to effectively combat the scourge of Islamophobia at various regional and international forums.

The foreign minister said that the 47th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers held in Niger’s Capital Niamey in November 2020 unanimously adopted a resolution initiated by Pakistan for the designation of March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

Over the past year, Pakistan, together with other Islamic countries, pursued an extensive diplomatic process with UN Member States. Through constructive engagement, we and our OIC partners, were able to secure unanimous adoption by the UN General Assembly.

Qureshi said that the adoption of this resolution comes at a time when hate speech, discrimination and violence against Muslims are proliferating in several parts of the world including in our neighbourhood. It is on vivid display in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). Islamophobia today is manifested in negative profiling by security agencies, stigmatization, deliberate vandalizing of Islamic symbols and holy sites, killings by cow vigilantes, discriminatory laws and policies, ban on hijab, attacks on mosques, pronouncements by far-right parties that call for expulsion and even “genocide” of Muslims, anti-Muslim migrant bias, and attacks on the dignity of Muslim women.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the commemoration of an International Day to Combat Islamophobia will:

  • Send a clear message against contemporary challenges of racism, discrimination and violence against Muslims;
  • Raise international awareness about increasing Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred; and
  • Promote a message of tolerance, peaceful co-existence and interfaith and cultural harmony.

The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that we want to build bridges. We want to promote respect for all religions and beliefs.

“I reiterate Pakistan’s call for a global dialogue amongst civilizations under the ambit of the United Nations to promote peaceful co-existence and interfaith harmony,” he said.

“I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Pakistani diplomats, whose tireless work has culminated in the designation of this Day by the UN general assembly.”

Qureshi said that Pakistan will continue to advance international efforts to protect individuals against xenophobia, intolerance, discrimination, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, violence, incitement to violence and hate crimes based on religion or belief.

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