The UN has adopted a resolution declaring March 15 as International Day to combat islamophobia.
The resolution was adopted three years to the day since a right-wing extremist murdered over 50 Muslims in a New Zealand terror attack on two mosques.
Now, the day will be cemented as an annual reminder of the need to combat Islamophobia. Formally introducing the resolution, Pakistan’s UN envoy Munir Akram said Islamophobia has become a “reality” that is “proliferating in several parts of the world.”
“Such acts of discrimination, hostility and violence towards Muslims — individuals and communities — constitute grave violations of their human rights, and violate their freedom of religion and belief,” Akram said in the General Assembly Hall.
“It is particularly alarming these days, for it has emerged as a new form of racism characterized by xenophobia, negative profiling and stereotyping of Muslims,” he added.
The resolution recognizes “with deep concern” what it said is an “overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and violence, regardless of the actors, directed against members of many religious and other communities.”
It maintains terrorism “cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group,” and calls for “strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue on the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed the decision saying “voice against the rising tide of Islamophobia has been heard”.
“Today UN has finally recognised the grave challenge confronting the world: of Islamophobia, respect for religious symbols and practices and of curtailing systematic hate speech and discrimination against Muslims,” Khan posted.
“Next challenge is to ensure implementation of this landmark resolution.”
The resolution expresses deep concern at “the overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and violence, regardless of the actors, directed against members of many religions and other communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianophobia and prejudices against persons of other religions or beliefs”.
The resolution asks all countries, UN bodies, international and regional organisations, civil society, the private sector, and faith-based organisations “to organise and support various high-visibility events aimed at effectively increasing awareness of all levels about curbing Islamophobia”, and to observe the new International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
Reacting to the resolution, India has said that there are growing contemporary forms of religiophobia, especially anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist and anti-Sikh phobias.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said in the UN General Assembly that India hopes the resolution adopted “does not set a precedent” which will lead to multiple resolutions on phobias based on selective religions and divide the United Nations into religious camps.