I applaud the leadership shown by Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan to have the United Nations General Assembly recognize March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
March 15 marks the date in 2019 when a gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people and injuring 40 others.
Any ideology that leads to dehumanization of people based on race and religion is reprehensible. The denigration of Islam as a religion and Muhammad as a Prophet is one form of this inhumane discrimination that is fueling xenophobia, intolerance and violence around the world. The willingness to tolerate ethnic cleansing, genocide and brutalization of Muslim populations is a sad manifestation of the real impact of Islamophobia.
The resolution passed by the UNGA 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.”
I do not underestimate the nefarious plots to denigrate Islam. I hope that with the passing of this resolution the international community would do more to expose these bad actors and reject all forms of discrimination.
In his speech at the Organization of Islamic Conference Foreign Ministers gathering in Islamabad Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that Muslims share part of the blame for allowing Islamophobia to spread and not doing enough to combat the perception that equates Muslims with terrorism.
I believe that Muslims must strive to be a force for development, justice and peace in our societies if we are to succeed in breaking the perception that associate much of the Muslim world with with injustice, abuse of power, corruption, and poverty.
This is why I continue to believe that a multi-racial Malaysia that adheres to the rule of law and shows compassion for all members of its diverse society can be a positive force for peace and justice at home and around the world.