Pakistan slams France over campaign of Islamophobia

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan’s upper and lower houses of parliament adopted resolutions Monday condemning France over a “systematic” Islamophobic campaign in the garb of freedom of expression. 

The treasury and opposition lawmakers unanimously voted for the two separate resolutions, which strongly condemned the latest attempt of “illegal” and “Islamophobic” acts of republication of caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in France.

The resolution was introduced in the National Assembly by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi which strongly condemned recent derogatory remarks by French President .

It urged the government to recall its ambassador from France in protest against the sacrilege of Prophet Muhammad.

It also called on the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to continue to monitor the phenomenon of Islamophobia and take necessary actions for presenting Islamic countries’ common position on the matter, especially the issue of blasphemous caricatures.

The resolution also called on the UN to immediately initiate a global dialogue for inter-faith harmony and countering the rising trend of Islamophobia.

In the Senate, a similar resolution introduced by the Leader of the House, Shahzad Waseem, reaffirmed that the love for Prophet Muhammad is “beyond any doubt a part of our faith and no Muslim can tolerate such horrendous acts.”

Representing the sentiments of the people of Pakistan and the Muslim world as a whole, the upper house expressed serious concerns over such “vile” incidents which provoke Muslim reaction while also causing “grievous injury to Muslim sentiments.”

The lawmakers urged the parliaments and international community to come up with a framework and means to stop the recurrence of such acts in the future so as to ensure peaceful coexistence as well as social and interfaith harmony.

– Pakistani Christians condemn France

Pakistani Christians also denounced French authorities for projecting the blasphemous caricatures on government buildings, which took place on Oct. 21 as part of a tribute to history teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded in a Paris suburb earlier this month by a student days after showing the caricatures in a class on freedom of speech.

Addressing a press conference at the Church of Pakistan in the northeastern city of Lahore, Bishop Azad Marshall urged the UN to pass a law to protect all religions in the world

“We vehemently denounce the recent events, which have hurt Muslims across the globe. Christians never support such hateful acts, which are detrimental to world peace,” Marshall said.

Pakistani Christians, he said, stand alongside their Muslim brothers and reject the provocations by France.

Echoing Marshall’s views, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw, chairman of the National Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue and Ecumenism, regretted that France is supporting such activities, which would create a gap between followers of diverse faiths.

“A liberal society doesn’t mean increasing difficulties for the public and hurting their sentiments, especially their religious beliefs,” he said in a statement.

“Respect and interfaith harmony are the need of the hour.”

Attacks by Macron

In recent weeks, President Macron has attacked Islam and the Muslim community, accusing Muslims of “separatism.” He described Islam as “a religion in crisis all over the world.”

This coincided with a provocative move by Charlie Hebdo, a left-wing French satirical magazine infamous for publishing anti-Islamic caricatures which have drawn widespread anger and outrage across the Muslim world.

Earlier this year, it republished cartoons insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad.

The caricatures were first published in 2006 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, sparking a wave of protests.

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