UNITED NATIONS: The unanimous adoption of Tuesday’s historic resolution by the United Nations General Assembly proclaiming March 15 as the International Day for the Fight Against Islamophobia has set the stage for Pakistan to work, with partners in the OIC and the global community, in developing joint strategies to counter the threat posed by the heinous phenomenon, according to diplomatic sources.
The resolution comes at a time when Islamophobia is rampant, particularly since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, when some countries began to equate Islam with terrorism, a trend that has also seen a proliferation of hate speech against Muslims.
Its adoption by the 193-member Assembly marked the culmination of years of efforts by a group of OIC countries, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, Niger and Indonesia, which led to gaining agreement from the Western world to actively combat the growing Islamophobia.
“We are pleased with the active cooperation among Islamic countries which has led to global recognition of the need to combat Islamophobia,” said Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations. UN, which presented the resolution to the General Assembly. said in an interview with APP correspondent.
The consensual resolution, he said, is “an important step in the dedicated effort launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan to mobilize an international campaign to combat the prejudice, discrimination, hatred and violence that are rampant against the Islam and Muslims in various parts of the world”.
Indeed, Prime Minister Khan was the first to raise the issue of Islamophobia at the UN in his first address of 2019 to the General Assembly, and has repeatedly called for international attention and efforts to remediate.
In this regard, according to the sources, Pakistan, in cooperation with the Islamic world and the international community, will take several measures to combat Islamophobia whose manifestations are hate speech, discrimination and violence against Muslims.
It was recalled that the 47th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC, held in Niamey, Niger, in November 2020, unanimously adopted a resolution initiated by Pakistan for the designation of March 15 as International day against Islamophobia.
Then the first task was to convince the Islamic countries to propose a resolution to the United Nations General Assembly, some of them being of the opinion that the Western countries would not support it.
After mobilizing their support, the OIC group was formed and started extensive consultations with Western countries on the text of the draft resolution for the UN General Assembly.
During intensive consultations, most countries accepted the text that was worked out, including Russia and China, but India played a negative role in the process.
India’s role became evident when its ambassador TS Tirumurti expressed concern to the General Assembly on Tuesday over the phobia of one religion, Islam, being elevated to an international day.
“It is important that the United Nations stays above such religious issues which may seek to divide us rather than bring us together on a platform of peace and harmony and treat the world as one family,” he said. he declared.
Ambassador Akram, the Pakistani envoy, countered this argument by stating that “the purpose of observing this day is to unite, not divide.”
During the negotiation of the draft for the Assembly, the main objection was Islamophobia, as some Western countries argued that discrimination exists against all religions. Pakistan and other members of the group refuted their arguments, saying that there were precedents since the General Assembly had declared International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which concerned only one religion, as well as the International Day of Vesak relating to Buddhism. These counties were also informed that Islamophobia was real and that the UN should recognize and accept measures to combat this phenomenon.
India, the sources said, insisted on inserting a reference to “Hindu phobia” in the text, but found no support in the negotiations. In fact, India was the only country that threatened to call a vote, but having been isolated, it was forced to go along with the consensus adoption of the resolution.
In a message from Islamabad, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the adoption of the resolution came at a time when hate speech, discrimination and violence against Muslims were proliferating in many parts of the world, including included in our neighborhood.
“He is very visible in the illegally occupied Indian Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). Islamophobia is manifested today in negative profiling by security agencies, stigmatization, deliberate vandalism of Islamic symbols and holy sites, killings by vigilantes, discriminatory laws and policies, banning of hijab, attacks on mosques, statements by far-right parties calling for expulsion. and even the ‘genocide’ of Muslims, anti-Muslim prejudice against migrants and attacks on the dignity of Muslim women,” he commented.
FM Qureshi also said in his message that the commemoration of an International Day for the Fight against Islamophobia would raise awareness in the international community of the increase in Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred, in addition to promoting a message of tolerance. , peaceful coexistence and interfaith and cultural harmony.