Pakistan condemns blasphemous republication of caricatures
By Staff ReporterTuesday – October 27, 2020
According to a press release, the parliament expressed serious concerns at the highly disturbing statements and hate-mongering by a few politicians in some countries, justifying unlawful provocation and insult to sentiments of more than a billion Muslims through such hate driven acts, under the garb of freedom of expression.
The parliament recognises that the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities, and that the dissemination of racist ideas, defamation and ridicule of other religions, hate speech, incitement to violence, hurting or insulting cannot be justified as legitimate exercise of this fundamental freedom.
The parliament is greatly alarmed at the rising incidents of systematic Islamophobia around the world resulting in horrific violence and hate crimes against Muslims, even during the global pandemic.
The parliament recognises with serious concern that Islamophobia has taken many forms including denigration of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace.be.upon.him) desecration of the Holy Quran, negative profiling by security agencies, killing of innocent people by cow vigilantes, attacks on women for wearing hijabs, ban on minarets, negative propaganda and disinformation campaigns by some media groups, manifestos of far right and neo-fascist parties that call for expulsion of Muslims, etc.
The parliament expressed concerns on the politicisation of Islamophobia and hate speech against Muslims by some politicians for their partisan electoral and political gains; condemned unequivocally the practice of blasphemy and of insulting the prophets of Islam, Christianity and Judaism alike.
The parliament condemned strongly all acts of terror or violence in the name of religion or belief; deplored equating of Islam and Muslims with terrorism which goes against the international consensus and spirit of mutual respect and peaceful co-existence.
The parliament is seriously concerned that illegal and Islamophobic acts fanning inter-religious hatred, hostility and confrontation, are the very basis of horrendous terrorist acts like Christchurch, thereby imperilling harmony and peaceful co-existence among civilisations.
The parliament appreciates the efforts undertaken by Pakistan at the United Nations (UN) and other multilateral fora for combatting intolerance, stigmatisation, negative stereotyping and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief and also in highlighting the negative consequences of Islamophobia on the enjoyment of all human rights of Muslims.
The parliament with the intention of effectively addressing the issue of Islamophobia, urges the government to work within the organisation of Islamic cooperation (OIC) for designating March 15 as an international day to combat Islamophobia.
The parliament urges the foreign office (FO) to closely engage with different regional and political groups for developing mutual understanding and respect for all religions, faiths and beliefs.
The parliament calls on the OIC secretary general to continue to monitor the phenomenon of Islamophobia and take necessary actions for presenting Islamic countries’ common position on the matter especially the issue of blasphemous caricatures of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace.be.upon.him) and desecration of the Holy Quran.
The parliament urges all non-OIC countries to review anti-Muslim discriminatory policies and to refrain from practices that fan intolerance, discrimination, hatred or associate Islam with terror or extremism and ban unlawful provocations.
The parliament calls upon all non-OIC countries to provide legal avenues to Muslims residing in their territory for redressal of their genuine grievances.
Separately, on Monday, the ambassador of France to Pakistan was called to the FO to convey deep concerns over the recent systematic resurgence of blasphemous acts of republication of caricatures of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace.be.upon.him) and desecration of the Holy Quran by certain irresponsible elements.
It was underscored that such illegal and Islamophobic acts hurt the sentiments of Muslims worldwide, including those in Pakistan. Furthermore, such actions could not be justified in the name of freedom of expression.
It was further conveyed that Pakistan strongly condemned equating Islam with terrorism, for narrow electoral and political gains. Such provocative statements and actions were fanning inter-religious hatred, hostility and confrontation thereby imperilling efforts of peace and harmony among various segments of society.
It was reiterated that freedom of expression should not be misused as means to attack or hurt public sentiments or religious beliefs and fan inter-religious hatred, hostility and confrontation.
It was emphasised that such actions and statements will further divide peoples and civilisations and undermine the global aspirations for peaceful co-existence as well as social and inter-faith harmony.
At a time of rising racism, intolerance and populism, there is a need to promote harmony among peoples and communities instead of reinforcing stereotypes and making people alienated.