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October 27, 2020

Angered over France’s ‘Islamophobic’ act: Pakistan to table resolution at OIC meeting

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October 27, 2020

Islamabad: Angered over France’s ‘illegal’ and ‘Islamophobic’ acts which hurt the sentiments of Muslims across the world, including those in Pakistan, the government has decided to present a resolution at the next meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), proposing to observe March 15 as an international day against Islamophobia.

“President Emmanuel Macron’s statement is irresponsible and has added fuel to fire. Nobody has the right to hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims under the guise of freedom of expression,” said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Macron’s objectionable statement defending free speech was made after the murder a few days ago in which a French teacher was beheaded by a local Muslim who was angered at the use of blasphemous cartoons. The foreign minister also urged the United Nations to take notice and called for action against the hate-based narrative against Islam.

Later, the Foreign Office summoned the ambassador of France to the ministry of foreign affairs to convey the deep concerns over the recent systematic resurgence of blasphemous cartoons. “The ambassador was handed over a dossier by the special secretary (Europe) and told about Pakistan’s condemnation of the publication of blasphemous sketches and the comments later made by Macron,” spokesman at the ministry said in a statement. He was also told that such actions could not be justified in the name of freedom of expression.

“It was further conveyed that Pakistan condemned equating Islam with terrorism, for narrow electoral and political gains. Such provocative statements and actions were fanning inter-religious hatred, hostility and confrontation thereby imperiling efforts of peace and harmony among various segments of society,” the spokesman added.

It was reiterated that freedom of expression should not be misused as means to attack or hurt public sentiments or religious beliefs and fan inter-religious hatred, hostility and confrontation. It was emphasised that such actions and statements would further divide people and civilizations and undermine the global aspirations for peaceful co-existence as well as social and inter-faith harmony.

“At a time of rising racism, intolerance and populism, there is a need to promote harmony among people and communities instead of reinforcing stereotypes and making people alienated,” the statement said. Meanwhile, as France recalled its ambassador from Turkey, President Erdogan called for boycott of all French goods in the country.