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Today Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi attended the Emergency Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee convened in Istanbul at the initiative of Turkey, the current chair of the OIC. While addressing the gathering, the Foreign Minister expressed Pakistan’s strong condemnation of the heinous 15 March 2019 terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which fifty precious lives were lost, nine of them from Pakistan. He lauded the valour of Shaheed Dr. Naeem Rashid, who challenged the terrorist in complete disregard of his own life, saving the lives of many others.

The Foreign Minister said that the rise in Islamophobia in the western countries, and India, had morphed into violent expression of this abhorrent manifestation of racism. “The international media must refrain from propagating narratives of stigmatization of Muslims and their negative stereotyping”, he emphasized. The Foreign Minister called upon the Ummah to douse fire with water, falsehood with truth, bigotry with understanding and intolerance with compassion.

Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed grave concerns over the use of Islamophobia and Xenophobia as vehicles for narrow political gain. The meeting concluded with a unanimous call that the OIC must play a proactive role in countering demonization and denigration of Islam and Muslims and adopt a comprehensive strategy in this regard.

Towards this end, Pakistan submitted a number of proposals which included;

a) broadening the scope of United Nations 1267 sanctions regime by including in its scope individuals and entities associated with anti-Muslim racist extremist groups;

b) requesting the Secretary General to engage with the management of social media platforms to ensure that these do not become conduits for incitement to violence

c) calling upon the UN Secretary General to convene a special session of the UNGA to declare Islamophobia a manifestation of racism and

d) to assign a special rapporteur for monitoring and combatting Islamophobia worldwide.

The Foreign Minister also met a number of leaders on the sidelines of the meeting, including the Foreign Minister of Turkey, the Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister of New Zealand and the Foreign Minister of Iran, and discussed matters of mutual concern with them.


22 March 2019

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