ISLAMABAD: In line with Prime Minister Imran Khan's vision, Pakistan on Monday joined the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in observing the first-ever 'International Day to Combat Islamophobia.'
Pakistan had last year presented a resolution to designate March 15 as the 'International Day to Combat Islamophobia' during the 47th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) held November 27-28, 2020, in Niamey, Niger.
The CFM unanimously adopted the resolution, with the OIC now working with the international community to commemorate this day at a global level.
PM Imran Khan has been a leading international voice in raising awareness on the grave consequences of rising systematic Islamophobia in the West and in promoting inter-faith harmony.
The Foreign Office in a statement said the OIC's unanimous support for the designation of this day was a reflection of the sentiments of billions of Muslims around the world.
The FO said Pakistan had always supported and continues to lead global efforts to building bridges between cultures and civilisations. "Through the observance of this day, we want to build a better understanding of Islam and Islamic precepts," it said.
"We intend to send a message of international solidarity and cooperation. We remain determined to promote values of peaceful co-existence as well as inter-faith and cultural harmony," the FO said.
The OIC would hold a high-level event in New York on March 17 to mark this occasion.
"The scourge of Islamophobia, fuelled by populism, hate speech, and lack of knowledge and disinformation, is causing unimaginable suffering to Muslim minorities around the world," the FO said in a statement.
It said Islamophobia had taken many forms, including negative profiling, mob lynchings by cow vigilantes, discriminatory laws, attacks on women for wearing hijabs, ban on minarets, manifestos of far-right parties, negative propaganda and disinformation campaigns, deliberate vandalism of Islamic symbols and holy sites, and attempts to link and equate Islam with terrorism.
"Such acts imperil our shared aspirations for a peaceful world and harmonious future for all," the statement added.
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