The foreign ministers of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries adopted a strongly worded statement against denigrating Islam, its revered personalities and symbols.
The statement was proposed jointly by Pakistan and Turkey, when ministers of both the countries met on the margins of a United Nations General Assembly session in New York.
In his statement, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed deep concern over the misrepresentation of Islam as well as at activities which have hurt the feelings of Muslims all over the world – activities that had shown disrespect to the most revered personality of Islam.
In the joint statement that was adopted at the ministerial meeting, serious concerns were expressed on intensification of hate campaigns that were deliberately targeting Muslims and the Islamic religious symbols. The joint statement rejected provocative acts like the holding of the competition and contest to ridicule Islam and to inciting violence.
When the caricatures competition was announced, Pakistan raised the matter at the diplomatic level with the United Nations, OIC and European Union and sensitised world leaders.
The foreign minister of Pakistan wrote to OIC secretary general, UN secretary general, to the Dutch foreign Minister and foreign ministers of Muslim countries to jointly act against Islamophobic acts. Pakistan also requested the convening of an Emergency Session of the OIC Executive Committee to control the situation arising from acts derogating Islam.
Moreover, Prime Minster Imran Khan on assuming office in the first meeting of the Cabinet expressed serious concern, wherein a resolution was adopted condemning the campaign of derogating Islam. Both houses of the Parliament also adopted resolutions, calling for halting such activities.
PM Imran had then assured the Parliament that matter will be raised during the OIC Ministerial Meeting in New York.
Therefore, during the bilateral meeting in New York, the Pakistani foreign minister spoke about the alarming rise in defamatory activities that were hurting the sensibilities of Muslims. He affirmed that freedom of expression comes with concomitant responsibilities, and should be exercised keeping in view the ethical, moral and legal obligations.
United against intolerance
The OIC joint statement refers to important resolutions adopted by the OIC, Human Rights Council and the UNGA condemning attack on Islam, combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatisation and discrimination, incitement to violence against persons based on religion and belief.
In particular, the joint statement refers to various steps proposed by the OIC to foster an environment of peace, religious tolerance and respect and measures to be taken by the states in their domestic sphere.
The joint statement is a reflection of the government’s commitment to play its role in garnering support through joint action of OIC and building solidarity and unity among Muslim countries and to stand united for common cause of upholding the values of Islam and engaging with other countries to promote culture of peace and tolerance. -Web Desk