Pakistan’s foreign minister telephoned his Indonesian counterpart on Thursday to discuss issues relating to the rising trend of Islamophobia in the western world.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Retno Marsudi also discussed the importance of stronger cooperation amongst members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to combat Islamophobia, according to a statement from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry.
Qureshi thanked Indonesia for supporting the unanimous adoption of a Pakistan-sponsored resolution at the 47th OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in November that declared March 15 International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
He also emphasized that disrespect for revered Islamic personalities hurt more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world and urged the OIC to work to make the international community understand the deep-rooted love and devotion of Muslims for the holy prophet and the holy Quran.
His contact with his Indonesian counterpart is part of Islamabad’s efforts to develop consensus among Muslim countries and counter growing Islamophobia in western nations at the OIC platform.
The European Parliament last week stood behind France and adopted a resolution to review trade relations with Islamabad and to end Pakistan’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) status.
Under the status, Pakistan enjoys preferential duties on exports to EU countries.
The EU resolution came after Pakistan announced on April 20 that it would seek a vote in parliament on whether to expel the French envoy for offensive caricatures of Prophet Muhammad published in France last year.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan later said he will launch a campaign to seek Muslim countries’ support to take up the simmering issues of blasphemy and Islamophobia at international forums, including the UN and the EU.
Khan met Tuesday with OIC’s envoys from member states in Islamabad and urged the group to work to make the international community understand the deep-rooted love and reverence of Muslims for the prophet and the Quran.
He said that Islamophobic acts fan inter-religious hatred and disharmony among civilizations and encouraged addressing the underlying reasons for the rise of such incidents worldwide.
“Falsely equating Islam with radicalism and terrorism was leading to the marginalization and stigmatization of Muslims,” said Khan.
Protests erupted in several Muslim countries because of France’s response to the murder in October of a teacher who showed cartoons of Prophet Muhammad to a class of elementary students.
French President Emmanuel Macron said at the time that France would “not give up our cartoons” while accusing French Muslims of “separatism” and describing Islam as “a religion in crisis.”