In meeting with Muslim bloc’s secretary-general, Pakistan’s premier stresses need to disallow perception of linkages between Islam and terrorism
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday reiterated his desire for Muslim states across the world to unite in combating rising incidents of Islamophobia in Western countries.
During a meeting with Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General Yousef Al-Othaimeen in Makkah—where the premier was on an official three-day visit—Khan stressed the need for collective action by Muslim leaders to ensure “the world recognized the special love and reverence that Muslims have for the holy Prophet (PBUH).”
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the meeting’s participants acknowledged that the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers had adopted a unanimous resolution to observe March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia following Khan’s letter to the heads of state of Muslim nations last year.
Khan emphasized that no individual or group should be allowed to create any linkage between Islam and terrorism. “The prime minister called upon the international community to show a common resolve against intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief and work together for inter-faith harmony and peaceful co-existence,” read the statement.
During the meeting, read the statement, the prime minister also condemned Israel’s attack on Palestinians in Qibla-e- Awaal, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and reiterated his call for the international community to take steps to protect Palestinians and their legitimate rights. The OIC must “play its rightful role in addressing the serious situation,” he added.
Khan and the OIC secretary-general also discussed Pakistan’s collaboration with the Muslim bloc on a range of issues, with al-Othaimeen sharing information on the OIC’s activities in support of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. “The OIC has steadfastly supported the Kashmir cause and in this context the Niamey CFM culminated with a comprehensive resolution on the issue,” read the statement issued by the P.M.’s Office.
Muslim World League
Separately, the prime minister also met World Muslim League Secretary General Mohammad Al Issa in Makkah. During their meeting, Khan stressed the importance of combating Islamophobia and hoped the Muslim Ummah would unite on a single platform on the issue.
Reiterating his belief that the right to freedom of speech did not absolve individual responsibility, Khan claimed that under international law it included an “obligation not to disseminate racist ideas, defame and ridicule religious symbol and religion personalities.” He also reiterated the importance of bridging the gap between understanding and communication to apprise the West of the perils of Islamophobia.
Urging the secretary general to engage all segments of Western society, in particular academia, civil society organizations, intelligentsia and politicians, the prime minister emphasized a need for the international community to “show a common resolve against intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief and work together for peaceful co-existence.”
The secretary general, according to the P.M.’s Office, “lauded the P.M.’s espousal of Ummah’s causes and stated that he enjoyed an eminent stature in the Muslim world.” He also underscored the salience of close ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and congratulated the P.M. on a highly successful visit.