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PM Imran urges Muslim leaders to unite against Islamophobia

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged Muslim leaders to collectively raise their voice and break the cycle of hate and extremism caused by Islamophobic acts between the Muslim and Western worlds.

Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a letter to leaders of Muslim states after blasphemous cartoons of Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) were displayed on government buildings in France.

The act was defended by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who said that “Islamists want our future”.

PM Imran, in the letter, highlighted the “growing concern and restlessness amongst Muslim ummah as they see the rising tide of Islamophobia and attacks through ridicule and mockery of our beloved Prophet (PBUH)” in the Western world, especially in Europe.

“The recent statements at the leadership level and incidents of desecration of the Holy Quran are a reflection of this increasing Islamophobia that is spreading in European countries where sizeable Muslim populations reside,” according to the letter.

The anti-Muslim sentiment was spreading across Europe, where mosques are being closed down and Muslim women are being denied the right to wear clothes of their choice in public “even as nuns and priests continue to display their religious clothing,” the premier added.

He expressed his belief that the leadership of European countries “often acts out of lack of understanding” of the respect and love the Muslim population holds for the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet and said that their actions lead to a “dangerous cycle of actions and reactions”, which leads to further marginalization of Muslims in those societies.

“The resulting marginalization leads to radicalization and this vicious cycle continues to create increasing space for extremists on all sides,” said PM Imran.

The premier went on to say that it was time for Muslim leaders to come together and “break this cycle of hate and extremism, which nurtures violence and even death”.

“I urge all our Muslim leaders as a collectivity to raise our voice and explain to the leadership of the non-Muslim, especially Western states, the deep-seated reverence and love all Muslims feel for their divine book, the Holy Quran, and for our Prophet (PBUH),” it added.

The prime minister said, “It is time to reach out to ‘the other’ and end cycles of violence bred of ignorance and hate.”

He pointed out that criticism and questioning of the Holocaust — during which at least six million Jews were killed by the Nazis in the 1940s — had been criminalized by Western countries and said that the Muslim world “understand(s) and respect(s) that”.

“However, there has to be an understanding by the Western world of giving a similar respect to Muslims, who have also their people killed in mass numbers from Bosnia to Iraq to Afghanistan to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, but for whom the pain and hurt are greatest when we see attacks on our faith and beloved Prophet (PBUH) through mockery, ridicule and abuse.”

He highlighted that blasphemy against any prophet, including those of Christianity and Judaism, is “unacceptable” for Muslims. He reiterated that the “world cannot continue on this hate spiral which only benefits extremist agendas on all sides”.

 

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