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OIC calls for international action against hatred, Islamophobia

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called on the UN and other regional and international organizations to declare March 15 an international solidarity day against Islamophobia.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called on the UN and other regional and international organizations to declare March 15 an international solidarity day against Islamophobia.

This demand was made during an emergency open-ended meeting of the Executive Committee at the level of Foreign Ministers on Friday in Istanbul, Turkey, to discuss the terrorist attack against more than 50 Muslims in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The final communique called on the UN Secretary General to convene a special session of the General Assembly to declare Islamophobia as a form of racism and appoint a special rapporteur on combating this plight.

It requested the OIC chief to communicate with concerned UN mechanisms in order to expand the scope of Resolution 1267 on sanctions, so that it includes individuals and entities associated with extremist racist groups.

The organization called on the UN Human Rights Commissioner to establish an observatory for Islamophobia and religious violence against Muslims.

The statement pointed to the UN’s need to engage with social media platforms to take institutional and technical measures to block any content inciting violence and hatred against Muslims.

It also hailed New Zealand’s government for condemning the terrorist attack on the two mosques, especially the firm stance taken by the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“If hate speech is not curbed urgently and effectively, chaos will strike stable countries and terrorize peaceful people,” OIC Secretary General Yousef al-Othaimeen said in his opening speech.

“According to the reports of the OIC Islamophobia Observatory, hatred and intolerance against Islam have, in the last few years, reached an alarming level with growing frequency.”

He stressed that hate speech based on far-right ideology targets not only Islam and Muslims but also Western liberal democracies.

“This terrorist incident has sent a powerful message to the world and to us all that hate speech, intolerance and Islamophobia are a clear danger that threatens the security of stable communities, and that this incident shows that terrorism has no religion, race or nationality,” Othaimeen noted.

In this context, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters said the perpetrator of the mosque attacks will face the most severe punishment and “will spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement.”

Speaking at the meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called for taking measures against increasing racist campaigns and attacks on Islam.

“No religion or belief can be defined by violence and terror,” Cavusoglu said.

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