(Al Jazeera) Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed a decision by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to approve a resolution setting March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
The resolution, adopted on Tuesday by consensus by the 193-member world body and co-sponsored by 55 mainly Muslim countries, emphasises the right to freedom of religion and belief and recalls a 1981 resolution calling for “the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief”.
The resolution was introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). It marks the day when a gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people and injuring 40 others.
In a tweet on Tuesday evening, Khan congratulated Muslims around the world “as our 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.
Formally introducing the resolution, Pakistan’s UN envoy Munir Akram on Tuesday 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.
“It is particularly alarming these days, for it has emerged as a new form of racism characterised by xenophobia, negative profiling and stereotyping of Muslims.”