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FM urges UNSG to convene global dialogue to combat Islamophobia

By Our Correspondent
March 18, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday called upon the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) to convene a global dialogue on countering rising Islamophobia and promoting inter-faith harmony, as a step to foster engagement.“The way forward is dialogue and understanding. Only if we are able to better understand each other’s perspective, will we be able to create peaceful and harmonious societies. The United Nations is the best platform to nurture this understanding,” he added.

The foreign minister was virtually addressing the high-level event in commemoration of the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, organised by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Group in New York.

He thanked the OIC Group for organising the high-level event, which, he said, would send a clear message against contemporary challenges of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, negative stereotyping and stigmatisation.

He said the commemoration of the day, besides helping in raising international awareness about increasing Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiments, would also promote the message of tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and interfaith and cultural harmony. “The idea behind commemorating this day is to exhibit unfettered solidarity with humanity, convey a strong message of respect for human dignity, and reiterate our common commitment to ‘unity in diversity.’ This day is about uniting, not dividing. Let us not allow those who want to divide us, to negatively portray this day as being against any region, religion or country,” he added.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said disinformation and distortion of facts was their common enemy. “And it is these tools that purveyors of hate use to nourish their self-serving agendas.”

He said while the phenomenon of Islamophobia was not new, it had grown considerably over the last two decades. “Today, expressions of Islamophobia are unmistakable in the manifestos of far-right and neo-fascist parties, which openly call for expulsion of Muslims, politicisation of the Hijab, frequent mob lynching by cow vigilantes, discriminatory laws, state-sponsored pogroms, deliberate vandalism of Islamic symbols and holy sites, and attempts to link and equate Islam and Muslims to terrorism,” he said.