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October 29, 2020

PM urges Muslim leaders to join hands against Islamophobia

Top Story

October 29, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has written to the leaders of the Muslim world that the time has come for them to take the message with clarity and unity that blasphemy against any Prophet of Islam, Christianity or Judaism is unacceptable in our faith.

The premier emphasised that taking the message of mutual respect of all faiths to the rest of the world, especially the Western world, so an end is put to Islamophobia and attacks on Islam and our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

He wrote: “We must explain to the Western world that value systems differ for different social and religious and ethnic groups in the world. For Europeans and the Jews the Holocaust, which was the culmination of the Nazi pogrom, has led to many Western, especially European states, to criminalising any act of criticism or questioning of the Holocaust. We understand and respect that."

“However, there has to be an understanding by the Western world of giving a similar respect to the Muslims, who have also seen their people killed in mass numbers from Bosnia to Iraq to Afghanistan, to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, but for whom thepain and hurt is greatest when we see attacks on our faith and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through mockery, ridicule and even abuse. In fact, blasphemy against any Prophet of Islam, Christianity or Judaism is unacceptable in our faith,” he said.

The text of the letter:

“Asalam-o-Alaikum,

Today, we are confronting a growing concern and restlessness amongst our Ummah as they see the rising tide of Islamophobia and attacks, through ridicule and mockery on our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the Western world, especially Europe. The recent statements at the leadership level and incidents of desecration of the Holy Quran are a reflection of this increasing Islamophobia that is spreading in European countries where sizeable Muslim populations reside.

In addition, in Europe mosques are being closed, Muslim women are being denied their right to wear clothing of their choice in the public domain even as nuns and priests continue to display their religious clothing and covert and overt discrimination is widespread against the Muslims living in these countries. I believe the leadership in these countries, often acts out of lack of understanding of the intrinsic deep passion, love and devotion the Muslims all over the world have for their Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and their divine book the Holy Quran.

As a result a dangerous cycle of actions and reactions are set in motion. Hurtful actions result in reactions from Muslims as they see their faith and their beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) targeted which results in further discriminatory actions by governments against Muslim populations in their states, resulting in marginalisation of Muslims and the creating of space for radical, far-right groups to exploit the situation. On the other side, the resulting marginalisation leads to radicalisation and this vicious cycle continues to create increasing space for extremists on all sides.

In this environment, it is incumbent on us as leaders of the Muslim world to collectively take the lead in breaking this cycle of hate and extremism, which nurtures violence and even death. We, as leaders of Muslim polities, must take the initiative to call for an end to this cycle of hate and violence. I urge all our Muslim leaders as a collectivity, to raise our voice and explain to the leadership of the non-Muslim, especially western states, the deep-seated reverence and love all Muslims feel for their divine book, the Holy Quran, and for our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is time to reach out to “the other” and end cycles of violence bred of ignorance and hate.

We must explain to the Western world that value systems differ for different social and religious and ethnic groups in the world. For Europeans and the Jews the Holocaust, which was the culmination of the Nazi pogrom, has led to many Western, especially European states, to criminalising any act of criticism or questioning of the Holocaust. We understand and respect that.

However, there has to be an understanding by the Western world of giving a similar respect to the Muslims, who have also seen their people killed in mass numbers from Bosnia to Iraq to Afghanistan, to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, but for whom the pain and hurt is greatest when we see attacks on our faith and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through mockery, ridicule and even abuse. In fact, blasphemy against any Prophet of Islam, Christianity or Judaism is unacceptable in our faith.

The time has come for the leaders of the Muslim world to take this message with clarity and unity to the rest of the world, especially the Western world so an end is put to Islamophobia and attacks on Islam and our Prophet PBUH. The world cannot continue on this hate spiral, which only benefits extremists agendas on all sides and results in polarised societies and violence. Our faith is guided by peace and tolerance as practiced in Riyasat-i-Madina and in accordance with Misaq-i-Madina (the Treaty concluded by our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) between Muslims and Jews). It is our responsibility to inform the world of this spirit and core of our faith Islam.

May Allah Almighty’s blessings be on you,

(Imran Khan)