In a letter to the leaders of the Muslim-majority countries, the Pakistani Prime Minister calls on them to “take action against the growing Islamophobia”.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has written to the leaders of Muslim majority countries asking them “to work together against the growing Islamophobia in non-Muslim countries,” his office said.
Khan released the letter on Wednesday, according to a statement, but it was unclear which heads of state it had been sent to.
The letter follows a reprimand from Khan to French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this week accusing Macron of “promoting Islamophobia” because his government took steps to address what the French leader calls “Islamic separatism” designated.
During a protest in Peshawar, Pakistan, people chant slogans as they set a French flag on fire [Fayaz Aziz/Reuters]Macron’s comments accusing Muslim religious schools of “indoctrination” and defending the “right to blaspheme” under freedom of expression have sparked outrage in parts of the Muslim world and boycotted French products in some countries.
The French guide’s comments followed the murder of a French teacher after showing caricatures of the Islamic prophet Muhammad during a class earlier this month.
In his letter on Wednesday, Khan urged the leaders of Muslim majority states to band together to tackle what he called the “rising tide of Islamophobia and attacks”.
Although he was not referring specifically to France, Khan said, “Recent executive statements […] are a reflection of this growing Islamophobia that is spreading in European countries that are home to sizeable Muslim populations. “
My letter to the leaders of Muslim states to work together to counter the growing Islamophobia in non-Muslim states, especially Western states, which are of increasing concern to Muslims around the world. pic.twitter.com/OFuaKGu2c1
– Imran Khan (mImranKhanPTI), October 28, 2020
Khan said the leaders of these countries did not understand the “love and devotion that Muslims around the world have for their prophet [Muhammad] and her divine book, the Holy Quran ”.
“As a result, a dangerous cycle of actions and reactions is set in motion,” he wrote, an obvious reference to acts of violence in response to actions intended to offend either the Prophet Muhammad or the Quran.
“Harmful acts lead to reactions from Muslims when they see their faith and their beloved prophet being targeted, leading to further discriminatory acts by governments against Muslim populations in their states, marginalizing Muslims and creating space for radical, far-right groups taking advantage of the situation leads. “
Khan also reiterated a call he made this week in a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to treat the personality of the Prophet and the Qur’an as issues that could not be offended, questioned or disregarded under free speech rights.
Since taking office in 2018, the Pakistani Prime Minister has often raised the issue of increasing attacks on Muslims, both physically and through administrative measures by governments, particularly during his annual addresses to the United Nations General Assembly.
Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweeted @AsadHashim.