Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Islam is a religion of peace, it should not be judged on the basis of the actions of a few extremist groups.
He was addressing a high-level event in New York on Wednesday on the occasion of the International Day Against Islamophobia, organized by the OIC Contact Group.
Referring to the importance of this day, the Foreign Minister said that the celebration of this day should send a clear message against the current problems such as racial prejudice, racial discrimination, hatred and disgust towards foreigners, negative views about them and defamation of them and secondly it will help spread global awareness of Islamophobia and growing anti-Muslim sentiment.
The celebration of this day will spread the message of tolerance, peaceful coexistence, interfaith harmony and cultural harmony. “This is a day to unite, not to divide and divide. Let’s not allow those who want to divide and conquer us,” he said.
“Misinformation and distorted facts are our common enemy,” he added.
The tragic events in Christchurch two years ago, in which 51 worshipers were killed, are a stark reminder of the devastation that hate speech can bring, but the manner in which the Prime Minister, the Government and the people of New Zealand reacted was not only very strong but also sympathetic.
The Foreign Minister said that although the problem of Islamophobia was not new, it had increased significantly in the last two decades. Today, Islamophobia is reflected in the manifestos of conservative right-wing extremist fascist parties, openly expelling Muslims from the country, and giving the hijab a political colour. In the name of cow protection, fanatical mobs are killing innocent people, making and enforcing discriminatory laws, state-sponsored massacres of innocents, deliberately damaging and destroying Islamic symbols and holy places while attempts are being made to link Islam and Muslims with terrorism.
“Unlike the Coronavirus global pandemic, which should have united us, it has become a source of negative propaganda and hate speech in some countries, with Muslim minorities responsible for the spread of the virus,” he said. The Foreign Minister said that the latest report of the Special Representative on Freedom of Religion and Belief had revealed that such policies were aimed at inciting violence and harassment against Muslim individuals and classes, endorsing discrimination and imposing tyranny.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Islam is a religion of peace. It should not be judged on the basis of the actions of any group of extremists, such extremists are found in every society, religion or belief system. “The world cannot run on this axis of hatred,” he said. It only benefits extremists on all sides and, as a result, further divides society, leading to violence.
“We Muslims categorically condemn the blasphemy of the prophets of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Respect for all religions and prophets is part of our faith. In the same way, we oppose all forms of violence based on religion or belief. We expect only empathy and solidarity from others. The way forward is dialogue, dialogue and harmony,” the foreign minister added.
“The United Nations is the best way to promote and nurture such harmony,” he said.
He added that the Secretary-General should hold a global dialogue to counter growing Islamophobia and promote interfaith harmony – which encourages dialogue.
The Foreign Minister reiterated the demand of the OIC Foreign Ministers that the General Assembly declared March 15 as the International Day Against Islamophobia.
The expression of sympathy and solidarity by the international community will be a milestone in crushing the monster of Islamophobia and promoting mutual respect and harmony.
Today, speaking at the @OIC_OCI Group event in Commemoration of International Day to Combat Islamophobia in New York, i affirmed Pakistan stands resolutely against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, negative stereotyping and stigmatization.
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) March 17, 2021