NEW YORK – Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday inaugurated a special high-level meeting to commemorate International Day to Combat Islamophobia, and urged world community to stand together in the fight against hatred, bigotry and intolerance.
“The observance of this Day serves to reinforce our shared commitment to raise awareness about the insidious phenomenon of Islamophobia, advance mutual respect and understanding, and develop concrete measures to eradicate this contemporary plague,” he said, while highlighting that Islam is a religion of moderation, tolerance and pluralism.
The meeting is co-convened by the Office of the President of the General Assembly and Pakistan in its capacity as the Chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers.
Last year, the 193-member Assembly adopted Resolution 76/254 designating March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
Apart from Casaba Korosi, the Assembly’s President, present at the meeting, among others, were UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Miguel Moratinos. OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taham and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Nazila Ghanea, were due to address by video link.
In his opening remarks, FM Bilawal said since 9/11, animosity and institutional suspicion of Muslims and Islam across the world escalated to “epidemic proportions”.
“Despite protestations to the contrary,” the foreign minister said, “Islam and Muslims are routinely linked to terrorism”.
In some cases, he said, the rhetoric of hate and incitement to violence was officially inspired, noting that repeated pogroms of Muslims had been instigated by officially sanctioned neo-fascist policies and ideologies with complete impunity.
“The policies and violent actions of those who deny the right of self-determination of Muslim peoples represent the worst manifestations of Islamophobia today,” Bilawal added.
In this regard, he called on the UN secretary-general to formulate an ‘action plan’, in coordination with the OIC countries, to halt and reverse Islamophobia.
The foreign minister suggested the following action plan;
— The appointment of a UN Special Envoy to combat Islamophobia;
— The adoption of measures to protect Holy Sites, including the thousands of Mosques and Mausoleums;
— The adoption of laws – at the national and international level – to outlaw hate speech, Holy Quran’s vandalization, and discrimination and violence against Muslims and other communities;
–The provision of legal assistance and appropriate compensation to those subjected to such Islamophobic acts and;
— The establishment of national and international judicial mechanisms and laws to hold those responsible for acts of Islamophobia accountable.
“Unfortunately,” the foreign minister said, “the virus of Islamophobia is spreading faster than we have been able to react.
“Not even the greatest democracies are immune. We have witnessed democratic societies impose Muslim bans. So-called free societies allow for the desecration of holy texts and holy sites. Even my region is not immune with democratic secular societies under the threat of being transformed to religious and Islamophobic states.
“Today, we must renew our resolve to build an inclusive society where different cultures and beliefs are celebrated and diversity is embraced. We can ill afford to ignore dangerous ideologies and acts dividing us as humanity,” he added.
“The declaration of 15th March as an International Day to Combat Islamophobia by the General Assembly is a demonstration of global solidarity with both known and unknown victims of Islamophobia,” FM Bilawal said.
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) taught Muslims to treat everyone with dignity and respect regardless of race, culture, gender or religion, the foreign minister said, but noted that unfounded phobia of Islam and its adherents was a sad reality, and the challenge was much deeper and deeply rooted.
Since colonial times, he said, the entrenched notions that depict Muslims and their beliefs as cultural “others” and “threats” had served to perpetuate, validate and normalize Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
“This Islamophobic narrative is not just confined to an extremist marginal propaganda but regrettably, has found acceptance by section of mainstream media, academia, policy-makers and State machinery.
“Islamophobia is, therefore, being constantly fueled by structural discrimination, xenophobia, and negative stereotyping of Muslims and their faith,” he added.
Today,” the foreign minister said, “we must renew our resolve to build inclusive societies where different cultures and beliefs are celebrated and diversity embraced. We can ill afford to ignore dangerous ideologies and acts dividing us as humanity.”
Pakistani rupee advanced its winning momentum against US dollar, and other currencies in the open market amid strong economic cues.
On Saturday, the US dollar was being quoted at 285.15 for buying and 287.95 for selling.
Euro moves down to 309.9 for buying and 310.5 for selling. British Pound rate stands at 359.4 for buying, and 360.05 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED also moved down to 77.45 whereas the Saudi Riyal drops to 75.82.
|UK Pound Sterling||GBP||359.4||360.05|
|Hong Kong Dollar||HKD||36.38||36.48|
|New Zealand Dollar||NZD||173.44||175.44|
The price of gold fell by thousands of rupees as precious metal lost shine despite an upward trend in the international market.
On Saturday, the price of a single tola of 24-karat gold stands at Rs217,300 and 10 grams of 24k gold costs Rs186,300.
Meanwhile, single tola of 22 Karat gold costs Rs199,190, 21 karat rate costs Rs190,138 and 18k gold rate is Rs162,975.
Globally, gold prices hover at around $2072, gaining $32 on Saturday.
|Lahore||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Karachi||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Islamabad||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Peshawar||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Quetta||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Sialkot||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Attock||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Gujranwala||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Jehlum||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Multan||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Bahawalpur||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Gujrat||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Nawabshah||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Chakwal||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Hyderabad||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Nowshehra||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Sargodha||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Faisalabad||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|
|Mirpur||PKR 217,300||PKR 2,705|