ISLAMABAD: On the instructions of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday a resolution would be presented at the next meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, proposing to observe 15th March as an international day against Islamophobia.
Qureshi’s remarks came as Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Monday summoned French ambassador Marc Baréty as anger spread in the South Asian nation over President Emmanuel Macron’s reaction to the murder last week of a French teacher by a Muslim who wanted to avenge the use of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) in a class on freedom of expression.
On Sunday, in an open letter on Twitter, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called on Facebook to ban “Islamophobic content” on its platform, hours after he accused the French president of “attacking Islam”.
On Monday, FM Qureshi urged the United Nations to take notice and act against the campaign against Islam, saying there was resentment world over due to the resurgence of the blasphemous caricatures.
“Nobody has the right to hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims under the garb of freedom of expression. Irresponsible statement of the French President has added fuel to the fire,” Qureshi said. “Hate speech is on the rise. The Prime Minister raised his voice against hate speech and Islamophobia at the UN General Assembly this year.”
Foreign office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri told Arab News the french ambassador to Pakistan was summoned to the Foreign Office to lodge "strong protest against the recent Islamophobic diatribe,” saying Baréty was handed over a ‘dossier’ by the special secretary for Europe on Monday.
On Wednesday, Macron had vowed not to “give up cartoons” depicting Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), saying that Samuel Paty, the teacher who was beheaded for showing the blasphemous sketches, was “killed because Islamists want our future”.
“Pakistan condemns in the strongest manner the systematic resurgence of blasphemous acts of republication of caricatures of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and desecration of the Holy Quran by certain irresponsible elements in some developed countries,” foreign office said in a statement.