(Karachi) Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that there has been a disturbing rise in Islamophobia and urged United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to declare an 'International Day to combat Islamophobia'.
He added it is time to build a resilient coalition to end the menace.
Addressing the Group of Friends of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) at a high-level virtual meeting on Wednesday, Qureshi said that rise in Islamophobia, evident in the manifestos of far-right and neo-fascist parties, the politicization and censorship of the hijab, cow vigilantism, burning of the Holy Quran etc cannot be tolerated.
He said, "The international community should build bridges and respect each other’s religions and beliefs."
The foreign minister commended the work of the Alliance of Civilizations in advancing mutual respect for diverse cultures, traditions and religious beliefs.
He said Pakistan is committed to promote inter-faith and inter-cultural harmony. "Our recent manifestation was the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, the world’s largest Gurdwara, allowing easy access to our Sikh brethren from the neighbourhood and all across the world to practice their religious rites," the FM stated.
On the occasion, Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed anguish at the exploitation of COVID-19 related fears to stoke racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, stigmatization, and violence against vulnerable minorities.
The Alliance of Civilisations was established in 2005 as a leading UN platform for inter-cultural dialogue to promote understanding between diverse nations and communities.
Pakistan is part of its “Group of Friends” which meets on a regular basis to discuss UNAOC’s current programmes, new initiatives and other activities.