Pakistan has reiterated its call for strengthening the legal and judicial framework for addressing the rising phenomenon of Islamophobia and hate crimes against Muslims globally. Addressing the 5th International Seminar of the OIC Independent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) on Islamophobia held on 17-18 October 2018 at Istanbul, Turkey, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Turkey, Mr. Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi, underlined that the negative phenomenon undermines the enjoyment of basic human rights by millions of Muslims across the globe.
He underscored that freedom of expression should not be used as a pretext to disguise racism; incitement to hatred; institutionalized discrimination; as well as vested campaigns to ridicule religions, religious symbols and personalities.
Drawing attention to Islamophobia in India, Ambassador Qazi said that the report of the OIC Observatory against Islamophobia has pointed out that Muslims in India are facing systematic discrimination, persecution and vigilante attacks by extremist organizations, under the patronage of the ruling party.
He added that the findings of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also express concern at the wave of Hindutva, and use of force by Indian Occupation forces to malign the just struggle of Kashmirisfor their right to self-determination. Similarly, the report of IPHRC’s Fact Finding Mission to assess human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir mentions that the rise of far right Hindu politics, coupled with anti-Muslim rhetoric, has encouraged ultranationalist leaders to issue belligerent anti-Muslim statements leading to heightened Islamophobia in the country.
Ambassador Qazi said that as a member of the OIC, Pakistan continues to play its due role by taking necessary initiatives against Islamophobia at the international level. He informed that Pakistan’s persistent and proactive diplomatic outreach to the Dutch Government as well as the international community recently helped in the cancellation of the blasphemous caricature competition, which was being organized by a Dutch parliamentarian.
At the conclusion of the Seminar, a declaration was issued that inter aliaexpressed concern at situations of foreign occupation in Palestine and Jammu & Kashmir as well as incidents of Islamophobia globally.
The two-day seminar in Istanbul was attended by a large number of OIC Member States, academia, journalists as well as several national and regional human rights organizations.