PakistanCurrent Affairs

International Day to Combat Islamophobia

Overview of UNGA Session

UN-adopted resolution was intorduced by Pakistan and marks the day when an Australian gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers and wounded 40 others in 2019 New Zealand terror attacks.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted by consensus a resolution declaring March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

Resolution on the behalf of OIC

The premier shared that United Nations, comprising 193 member states has adopted a Landmark resolution. This resolution was introduced by Pakistan on the behalf of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The resolution was sponsored by 57 members of OIC, and eight other countries, including China and Russia.

Complain of Several Member states:

Several member states hailed the document, but the representatives of India, France, and the European Union expressed reservation, saying that,

“While religious intolerance was prevalent all over the world, the resolution signed out and excluded all others.”

Indian Ambassador TS Trimurti complained that the resolution did not cover anti-Hindu phobia, among other religions.

Congratulation to Prime Minister Imran Khan

Congratulation of Prime Minister Imran Khan

Meanwhile, our Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated the Muslim Ummah on the development,

Our voice against the rising tide of Islamophobia has been heard and the UN has adopted a landmark resolution introduced by Pakistan.”

( He tweeted)

The premier added,

“Today the UN has finally recognized the grave challenge confronting the world: of Islamophobia, respect for religious symbols and practices and of curtailing systematic hate speech and discrimination against Muslims,”

Steps undertaken by the Resolution

Steps undertaken by the Resolution

Under its terms, the resolution strongly deplores all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief and such acts directed against their places of worship, as well as all attacks on and in religious places, sites, and shrines that are in violation of international law.

Spreading of Islamophobia is “Alarming”

Overview of UNGA Session

At United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session, Ambassador Munir Akram, who is the permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, said,

“Islamophobia is a reality.”

Noting that the phenomenon was growing, he stressed the need to address it.

Role of Imran Khan

Akram highlighted that Prime Minister Imran Khan was the first to raise the issue of Islamophobia at the UN in his historic 2019 address to the General Assembly., and had repeatedly called for international attention and efforts to address it.

Invitation to all Member States to Ponder Upon

This resolution invited all member states, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, other international and regional organizations, civil society, private sector, and faith-based organizations to observe the international day in an appropriate manner.

Akram’s Introductory Remarks

In his introductory remarks, Akram said Islamophobia’s manifestations___ hate speech, discrimination, and violence against Muslims were proliferating in several parts of the world.

Pakistan’s envoy said,

Such acts of discrimination, hostility and violence towards Muslim individuals and countries constitute grave violations of their human rights and violate their freedom of religion and belief. They also cause great anguish within the Muslim world.

The Ambassador referred to a report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, which he said stated that since the 9/11 attacks,

“Institutional suspicion and fear of Muslim and those perceived to be Muslim has escalated to epidemic proportions.” 

In such climates of exclusion, fear, and distrust, he said,

“Muslims often feel stigma, negative stereotyping and shame and a sense that they are suspect communities that are being forced to bear collective responsibility for the actions of a small minority.”

Akram said,

“The spread of Islamophobia, both in terms of the phenomenon’s momentum and outreach, is particularly alarming these days, for it has emerged as a new form of racism characterized by xenophobia, negative profiling and stereotyping of Muslims.”

In this regard, he noted that the,

Rise in hate crimes against Muslims, both offline and online, as well as discrimination in education, citizenship, immigration, employment, housing and healthcare sectors, among others, are well documented.”

Gender Aspect of Islamophobia

Gender Aspect of Islamophobia

The gender aspect of Islamophobia was also gaining prominence, with girls and women being targeted due to the mode of their dresses and the general notion of Muslim women are oppressed and thus be liberated, Akaram pointed out.

Institutionalization of Islamophobia

To worry is that, there would be the institutionalization of Islamophobia which would be through new legislation and policies.

As the Pakistani envoy said,

What indeed is worrisome, continues to find strong resonance in political spheres, ultimately leading to the institutionalization of Islamophobia through new legislation and policies, such as discriminatory travel bans and visa restrictions.”

Islamophobia Most Visible in Media

Islamophobia is most visible and common in the media and in the discourse of far-right groups and political parties and groups.

As Akram said,

“Various academic studies have revealed that Islamophobia is most visible in the media and in the discourse of far-right groups and political parties and groups, who tend to exploit and build on the general fear of Islam for electoral gains.”

Anti- Muslim Overture

Anti- Muslim Overtune

In some countries, he said anti-immigration and anti-refugee had taken an anti-muslim overtone and had often become the central theme of political campaigns.

Ambassador Akram voiced grave concern over several media outlets continuing to” propagate and negative stereotypes against Islam and Muslims, notably by acting as a platform for widespread dissemination of anti-Muslim rhetoric.”

Islamophobia Remained Poorly Understood

Islamophobia is poorly understood however it is the need of the hour to promote greater information on Islamophobia and also promote solutions and respect for human rights.

Akram said,

“Despite its pervasive impacts, Islamophobia remains poorly understood, and it is essential to promote greater information of this phenomena and promote solutions through greater understanding and full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Objectives of Resolution

The ambassador also outline the objectives that he said the draft resolution served to achieve. The objective is as follows,

  • Raise international awareness about the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred
  • Send a clear message that the world opposes all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, negative stereotyping, and stigmatization
  • To promote the message of tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and interfaith and cultural harmony among all religions, races, and nations.
  • To demonstrate by commemorating this day unfettered solidarity with all humanity.
  • Convey a strong message of respect for human dignity, and reiterate a common commitment to unity in diversity.

Conclusion of Address

Concluding his address, Ambassador Akram said,

“The objective of observing this day is about uniting, not dividing.”

Observing 15 March Every Year

The OIC observes the day of 15 March every year as the day to Combat Islamophobia every year after the organization passed the resolution—-presented by Pakistan —-at the 47th session of the OIC Council of foreign ministers.

Eisha Siddiqui

Eisha Siddiqui; A passionate researcher and a specialized current affairs' analyst whose focal point is to provide the best researched data on every upcoming event in Pakistan and enjoys exploring outstanding outcomes by deep analystic strategies.

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