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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday joined the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in observing the first-ever ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia.’

Pakistan, in line with vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, had presented a resolution to designate March 15 as ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’, at the 47th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), held in Niamey, Niger, on November 27-28, 2020.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has been the leading international voice in raising awareness on the grave consequences of rising systematic Islamophobia and in promoting inter-faith harmony.

The resolution was unanimously adopted by the CFM. The OIC is now working with the international community to commemorate this Day at the global level.

The Foreign Office in a statement said the OIC’s unanimous support for the designation of this Day was a reflection of the sentiments of billions of Muslims around the world.

Marking this occasion, the OIC Group will hold a High-Level Event in New York on March 17.

“The scourge of Islamophobia, fuelled by populism, hate speech, and lack of knowledge and disinformation, is causing unimaginable suffering to Muslim minorities around the world,” the FO statement added.

It said Islamophobia had taken many forms including inter alia negative profiling, mob lynchings by cow vigilantes, discriminatory laws, attacks on women for wearing hijabs, ban on minarets, negative propaganda and disinformation campaigns, manifestos of far-right parties, deliberate vandalism of Islamic symbols, and holy sites, and attempts to link and equate Islam with terrorism.

“Such acts imperil our shared aspirations for a peaceful world and harmonious future for all,” the statement added.

The FO said Pakistan had always supported and continues to lead international efforts for building bridges between cultures and civilizations.

“Through the observance of this Day, we want to build a better understanding of Islam and Islamic precepts,” it said.

“We intend to send a message of international solidarity and cooperation. We remain determined to promote values of peaceful co-existence as well as inter-faith and cultural harmony,” the FO said.

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