The declaration welcomed the visit of Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, upon the instruction of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to New Zealand to emphasize the common resolve against Islamophobia and xenophobia and to highlight the solidarity with the Muslim community and New Zealand in the face of these heinous terror attacks.
ANKARA: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Friday called on the international community to step into action against rising Islamophobia.
The declaration, issued following an emergency meeting of the OIC here, called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe to establish an observatory to monitor violence and hatred towards Muslims.
"OIC is outraged with the savage terrorist attack which took lives of 50 Muslim worshippers at al-Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque on March 15, 2019 in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand; and reiterates the OIC’s position that terrorism has no religion, and that any acts of terror are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever, and by whoever committed,” the declaration said.
"OIC is deeply worried about the resurgence of racist movements and their terrorism in multiple regions of the world, based on concocted history, imagined inter-civilizational conflict and confrontation, and intent on inciting phobia, hatred and hostility against immigrants and individuals from Muslim nations, thereby imperiling future prospects of peace and harmony among the nations and communities of the world,” it added.
The declaration welcomed the visit of Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, upon the instruction of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to New Zealand "to emphasize the common resolve against Islamophobia and xenophobia and to highlight the solidarity with the Muslim community and New Zealand in the face of these heinous terror attacks."
Addressing the attack in New Zealand as "horrendous and despicable Islamophobic terrorist attack", the declaration said it condemned the attack "in the strongest possible terms."
The OIC said it appreciated "unequivocal condemnation of the terrorist attacks, in particular the firm and clear stance of the Prime Minister of New Zealand [Jacinda Ardern], who embraced the Muslim community and shared their grief."
The organization stressed that it fully supported New Zealand in its commitment for a thorough and fully transparent investigation into the terror attacks. The declaration also called for comprehensive and systematic measures to combat Islamophobia.
The OIC called on the United Nations and other international and regional organizations to adopt March 15 as the “International Day of Solidarity against Islamophobia”. The statement said it “firmly rejects all presumptions of guilt or attributions of potential crimes, extremism and terrorism to ordinary Muslims, who sincerely adhere to, express and follow the basic requirements of Islamic tenets and teachings”.
It also requested the OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen to engage the management of social media platforms -- including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram -- in order to filter or ban any content that encourage hatred and violence against Muslims.
In addition, the OIC called on the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to convene a special meeting of UN General Assembly to declare Islamophobia as a form of racism. Speaking on the occasion, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Friday urged the United Nations to formulate laws to tackle rising Islamophobia.
Foreign ministers from over 20 Muslim countries participating in the OIC meeting united in their call for measures against Islamophobia after last week's twin mosque massacre in New Zealand left 50 people dead, including nine Pakistanis. “Violence driven by Islamophobia requires genuine, comprehensive and systematic measures to address this affliction," ministers from the OIC said in a statement after the meeting.
Later talking to the Turkish international news channel TRT World, Qureshi said the rising trend of Islamophobia was a serious phenomenon which did not happen overnight, as earlier caricatures were used to hurt the feelings of Muslims.
Referring to the discrepancy in approach, he said terrorism had been selectively defined and this approach will have to be checked effectively. "When a non-Muslim goes for a terrorist act, it is considered as an individual act," he said, adding, "Whereas when a Muslim is involved in something, it is categorised as terrorist act(s), thus Islam is demonised.
"In the current scenario, the media will have to play an effective role, besides the social media acting in a responsible manner.” He said unity within the OIC and Ummah was extremely important.
He lauded the role of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for tactfully handling the sensitive and emotional issue of Christchurch attack. He said the people of New Zealand had also defended the Muslims and chosen to guard the mosques, and volunteered to raise funds for the victims of the incident.
Qureshi also met Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, on the sidelines of the moot. He was earlier welcomed by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu upon his arrival in the country.