Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that in order for Muslim leaders to effectively counter rising incidents of Islamophobia, a "concerted response" from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is needed.
His remarks came during a meeting with Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen, in Makkah.
According to a statement by the Prime Minister's Office, it was noted in the meeting that following the premier's letter to heads of states of various Muslim countries, the OIC Council of Foreign Minister (CFM) in Niamey had adopted a unanimous resolution on observing 15 March as International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
PM Imran Khan underscored that a collective endeavour by Muslim leaders is needed "to make sure that the world recognised the special love and reverence that Muslims had for the Holy Prophet (PBUH)".
He also laid emphasis on the fact that no one must be allowed to create any linkage between Islam and terrorism.
"The prime minister called upon the international community to show a common resolve against intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief and work together for inter-faith harmony and peaceful co-existence," read the PM Office statement.
The prime minister also took the opportunity to expressly condemn the Israeli attack against Palestinians in Qibla-e- Awaal, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and reiterated his call on the international community to take steps to protect the Palestinians and their legitimate rights.
He said the OIC must also "play its rightful role in addressing the serious situation", according to the PM Office.
The secretary general, for his part, shared information about the OIC's activities in support of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
"The OIC has steadfastly supported the Kashmir cause and in this context the Niamey CFM culminated with a comprehensive resolution on the issue," the PM Office said in its statement.
The prime minister and secretary general discussed Pakistan-OIC collaboration on a range of issues.
PM Imran Khan stated that Pakistan was looking forward to hosting the 48th Session of the Council of Foreign Minister.
Separately, PM Imran Khan met the Secretary General of the World Muslim League (WML), Mohammad Al Issa, in Makkah today.
According to the PM Office, the premier highlighted the importance of combating Islamophobia and hoped that the Muslim Ummah would take it up as a unified cause.
He also emphasised that the right to freedom of speech carried with it responsibilities.
These responsibilities under international law include an "obligation not to disseminate racist ideas, defame and ridicule religious symbol and religion personalities", said the PM Office statement.
Referring to Islamophobia, the prime minister stressed the importance of bridging the gap in understanding and communication.
He urged the secretary general to engage all segments of the Western society, in particular the academia, civil society organisations, intelligentsia and politicians.
The premier stressed that the international community "must show a common resolve against intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief and work together for peaceful co-existence".
The secretary general "lauded the PM’s espousal of Ummah’s causes and stated that he enjoyed an eminent stature in the Muslim world".
The secretary general also underscored the salience of close Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations and congratulated the PM on a highly successful visit, the statement added.
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