Pakistan calls for action plan against Islamophobia

Islamabad: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that Islam is a religion of moderation, tolerance and pluralism.


Addressing a function pertaining to the commemoration of International Day to combat Islamophobia in New York, the Foreign Minister said Islam is the religion of peace and teaches us to disseminate love among the masses.


According to a Radio Pakistan’s report, the Foreign Minister urged the world community to come forward and play their due role to counter the anti-Islam stuff on social media. He urged the UN Secretary General to establish a forum to counter the rising tendency of terrorism and extremism across the globe.


Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that we must continue to push for policies that fully respect human rights, religious, cultural and unique human identity. He said the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) taught Muslims to treat everyone with dignity and respect regardless of race, culture, gender or religion.


He said since colonial times, the entrenched notions that depict Muslims and their beliefs as cultural “others” and “threats” and have served to perpetuate, validate and normalize Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.


He said since the tragedy of 9/11, animosity and institutional suspicion of Muslims and Islam across the world have only escalated to “epidemic proportions”.


He said a narrative has been developed and peddled which associates Muslim communities and their religion with violence and danger.


The Foreign Minister said this Islamophobic narrative is not just confined to an extremist marginal propaganda but regrettably, has found acceptance by sections of mainstream media, academia, policy-makers and State machinery.


He said Islamophobia is therefore being constantly fueled by structural discrimination, xenophobia, and negative stereotyping of Muslims and their faith.


Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that unfortunately, the virus of Islamophobia is spreading faster than we have been able to react. He said we have witnessed democratic societies expose Muslim bans. So-called free societies allow for the discretion of Holy texts and Holy sites.


He said even my region is not immune with democratic secular societies under the threat of being transformed to religious and Islamophobic states. He said the declaration of 15 March as an International Day to Combat Islamophobia by the General Assembly and today’s high-level event is a demonstration of global solidarity with both known and unknown victims of Islamophobia.


The Foreign Minister while concluding his speech said that today, we must renew our resolve to build an inclusive society where different cultures and beliefs are celebrated and diversity is embraced. He said we can ill afford to ignore dangerous ideologies and acts dividing us as humanity.