ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has urged the United Nations (UN) to take notice of and action against the hate-based narrative against Islam.
In a statement on Monday, the foreign minister said that there is resentment in the world over the blasphemous caricatures. He said the irresponsible statements of French President Macron have added fuel to the fire. He added that nobody has the right to hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims under the garb of freedom of expression.
The foreign minister said the seeds of hate that are being cultivated today will polarize society and have serious consequences. Qureshi said the French ambassador to Pakistan has been summoned to the Foreign Office (FO) to register an official protest.
On the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the foreign minister said a comprehensive resolution will be presented at the next meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers, proposing to observe 15th March as the international day against Islamophobia.
In a separate statement, the Prime Minister’s aide on Religious Harmony and the Middle East, Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said that Pakistan will take up the issue of blasphemous caricatures at the OIC forum.
In a tweet, he said France has hurt the sentiments of Muslims and the premier has already raised the issue of desecration of sanctities at every forum.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office summoned French Ambassador Marc Baréty on Monday to record Pakistan’s strong protest over French President Emmanuel Macron’s Islamophobic comments and publication of blasphemous sketches.
The special secretary for Europe handed over a letter of protest to the French ambassador.
Earlier this month, schoolteacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an 18-year-old for showing blasphemous cartoons to his students in the name of “freedom of expression”. The 18-year-old was subsequently killed by the French police.
Responding to the teacher’s killing, French President Macron had said that “Islam as a religion is in crisis all over the world, schools will be closely monitored and control over incoming foreign funding to mosques will be further improved.”
Several Muslim countries condemned Macron’s statement and called for a boycott of French products, whereas Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “What problem does the French president have with Muslims and Islam? He needs mental treatment.”