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Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi met the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Mr. Miguel Moratinos, on the margins of the 48th OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad today.

Views were exchanged on the work of UNAOC and avenues of collaboration, particularly in the area of strengthening interreligious dialogue, combating Islamophobia and related intolerance and achieving harmony in diverse societies.

The Foreign Minister underscored that hate speech, discrimination and violence against Muslims were proliferating in several parts of the world including in Pakistan’s neighbourhood. It was manifested in negative profiling by security agencies, stigmatization, deliberate vandalizing of Islamic symbols and holy sites, killings by cow vigilantes, discriminatory laws and policies, ban on hijab, attacks on mosques, pronouncements by far-right parties that call for expulsion and even “genocide” of Muslims, anti-Muslim migrant bias, and attacks on the dignity of Muslim women.

Welcoming the recent unanimous adoption of are solution by the United Nations General Assembly designating 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, the Foreign Minister lauded the support extended by the UNAOC and the High Representative to the OIC’s initiative.

The High Representative reiterated the readiness of UNAOC to support efforts towards promoting continued dialogue as well as fostering mutual respect and understanding.

The UNAOC was created in 2005. One of its core objectives has been to advance mutual respect for all cultures, traditions and religious beliefs, and to serve as a platform for bridge-building.

22 March 2022

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