International Day to Combat Islamophobia:  UN Takes Action, Calls for Unity

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International Day to Combat Islamophobia: UN Takes Action, Calls for Unity

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NEW YORK/ NEW DELHI: On March 15, the United Nations General Assembly marked the second anniversary of the International Day to Combat Islamophobia with a resounding call to action. In a historic move, a majority of 115 votes supported a follow-up resolution at the UN headquarters in New York, reaffirming the commitment to human rights and religious plurality. The resolution urged for an international dialogue to foster tolerance and peace, along with the appointment of a Special Envoy on Islamophobia by the UN Secretary-General.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized the importance of collective effort in upholding shared values of inclusion, tolerance, and mutual understanding, which are central to all major faiths and the UN Charter. He condemned anti-Muslim hatred and underscored Islam’s message of peace, compassion, and grace that has inspired people worldwide for centuries.

Kofi Annan, Guterres’s predecessor, lamented Islamophobia as a troubling modern phenomenon, while the General Assembly President highlighted its roots in xenophobia, leading to discriminatory practices and hate speech.

The approval of the follow-up resolution was met with applause from delegates, with Hissein Brahim Taha, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), welcoming it as a crucial step in the global fight against Islamophobia. Taha emphasized the need for international collaboration and highlighted the commemorative event organized by the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, chairing the OIC Group Countries in New York.

In addition to the UN headquarters in New York, the OIC and the United Nations Office in Geneva co-organized an event at the Palais des Nations to commemorate the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. Panelists discussed various aspects of religious intolerance, violence, and bigotry, offering recommendations for effective countermeasures.

Renowned figures from different fields also weighed in on Islamophobia. Professor Gordan Conway described it as a baseless terror resulting in exclusion and discrimination, while journalist Stephen Schwartz defined it as the condemnation of Islam in its entirety. President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ stance against Islamophobia, emphasizing the country’s foundation on freedom of worship and immigrant contributions.

Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, expressed Russia’s commitment to combating discrimination against Muslims and ensuring religious freedoms. Professor Seyyed

Hossein Nasr highlighted Islamophobia as not just fear but also hatred.

In a positive development, “The March 15th Forum” was launched to combat Islamophobia, aiming to build research and investigative resources while rallying support for the eradication of Islamophobia.

The second International Day to Combat Islamophobia serves as a reminder of the importance of unity, tolerance, and concerted global action to combat prejudice and promote peace and understanding among all communities.