International Day to Combat Islamophobia

The US smartly kept away from the world wars initially and watched the situation silently. However, close to the end of world wars, when all the warring nations were exhausted and destroyed each other. The US was full of energy and fresh. Availing the opportunity, the US proactively involved in the wars and after dropping nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945, became the victor, leading to the emergence of Superpower.

After World War II was over, the US as a victor became a superpower. Then it focused to counter the communist threat that was China and Russia. The cold war was initiated against the Communist bloc, commonly known as the Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe. In the 1970s, the US pulled China out of the Russian block and established friendly relations. However, the US intensified its rivalry against Russia and its allies in Eastern Europe. Finally, succeeded to disintegrate the former USSR in 1991 and all its allies in Eastern Europe.

After the collapse of the former USSR, the US focused on Muslim World and kept its eyes on the oil wealth of the Middle East. Arab spring was launched to destabilize sever Arab countries, attacked Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc.

As a part of the US strategy of aggressions and invasions, a media campaign was launched to defame and distort the Muslim world. The Unholy Western media, spread fake news, fabricated stories, and projected a distorted image of the Muslim world. Muslims were projected as a terrorist, filthy rich, full of social evils, etc.

Islamophobia was a common phenomenon in the Western world and hate against Muslims was growing exponentially. There is concrete evidence of plenty of hate-related crimes in the Western world against Muslims. The situation became serious and seems no end.

Under such circumstances, the few visionary leaders of the Muslim world took a stand and struggled to dilute the situation. Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc., were playing the leading role. Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), an organization of 57 Muslim countries, one of the second largest alliances after the UN, used its platform and struggled to declare March 15 to mark the day as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. This day will be marked every year by the UN officially.

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a landmark resolution introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC countries designating 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. The resolution reflects the sentiments of more than 1.5 billion Muslims all around the world.

It is 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 27 September 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 47th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Niamey, Niger, in November 2020, unanimously adopted a resolution initiated by Pakistan for the designation of 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. Over the past year, Pakistan, together with other Islamic countries, pursued an extensive diplomatic process with the UN Member States. Through constructive engagement, we and our OIC partners were able to secure unanimous adoption by the UN General Assembly.

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 neighborhood. 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 the 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.

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;
  • Promote a message of tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and interfaith and cultural harmony.

Muslims want to build bridges and want to promote respect for all religions and beliefs. Muslims 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.

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. Islam is a religion of peace and is committed to promoting peace and harmony around the globe.

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1 Comment

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