FM urges UNGA for International Day to Combat Islamophobia

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has urged the United Nations General Assembly to declare an ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’ and build a resilient coalition to end the scourge.

Virtually addressing the meeting of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, the foreign minister also called for declaring willful provocations and incitement to hate and violence as universally outlawed.

The foreign minister said that the enormity of this problem continues to grow partly by a rise in populism and mainstreaming of contempt through unregulated social media platforms. He said freedom of expression does not grant the freedom to insult or hurt others.

He said the most worrisome is the state sponsorship of violence on the basis of religion or belief. He said today Islamophobia is unmistakable in the manifestos of far-right and neo-fascist parties.

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He said while the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has done commendable work over the years, its job is far from over. “The echoes of ‘Clash of Civilizations’ still reverberates and we are witnessing a global resurgence in intolerance, discrimination, racism, hate speech and violence on the basis of religious beliefs,” he said.

He said Pakistan remains committed to promoting religious tolerance, understanding and cooperation at home and abroad. He said a recent manifestation of this commitment is the opening of Kartarpur Corridor, the world’s largest Gurdwara, allowing easy access to Sikh from the neighbourhood and all across the world.

Meanwhile, talking to a private news channel, the foreign minister said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects would benefit Afghanistan and the entire region. He said peace in Afghanistan and CPEC would bring prosperity for the people of the whole region.

Commenting on trade for Afghanistan, Qureshi said that markets would be established along the Pak-Afghan borders to promote business activities in the area.

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