Pervasive Islamophobia Threatens World Peace

Pervasive Islamophobia Threatens World Peace   Pervasive Islamophobia Threatens World Peace

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon published on Saturday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the fact that attacking Islamic values has become widespread in western societies presents a threat to international peace and security.     

"I wish to draw your kind attention to the rather unsettling and pervasive manifestations of Islamophobia, which have further escalated in the aftermath of the recent terrorist acts in Paris (referring to the deadly shooting attack on the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris last month and the following incidents)," Zarif said in the letter, a copy of which was sent to Financial Tribune on Saturday.

"The unjustifiable killings by members of an infamous violent extremist group – whose raison d'être and emergence recently as a player in our region is known to all - have been condemned by the Muslims across the globe, in clear and unequivocal terms… The fact that such senseless resorts to violence has no place in Islam and its exalted teachings, nor acceptable to Muslims, is not in doubt," he said, adding, "The issue for us, in the Islamic Republic, and in the larger Muslim world, is the prevalence of double standards when it comes to the question of the proclaimed defense of the universally respected principle of 'freedom of expression'."

  Order of the Day

Citing an example of the West's double-standard approach, the foreign minister said, "In 2008, a cartoonist of the same magazine was instructed by the magazine's editor to write a letter apology for what was perceived to be anti-Semitic; and was summarily fired once he refused.

No such approach and resolve has ever been seen in the case of frequent frivolous caricatures defaming Muslim and desecrating Islamic values, which appeared in that magazine and other similar publications in Europe; leading to exacerbated tension with the Muslim community in France and the Islamic world. As we all have ruefully witnessed in recent times in various societies in the western world… open assault on the religious values of Muslims… has regrettably become the order of the day.

"This inherently dangerous phenomenon poses serious threat to international peace and security."

Elsewhere, the top diplomat said, "Beyond the immediate and necessary action to denounce and condemn acts of verbal or physical violence, the West and Europe in particular now needs to undertake a soul-searching exercise as to the underlying reasons why quite a sizeable number of individuals and groups espousing extremist ideologies and engaged in acts of brutal terror and heinous violence, in Europe and on a much bigger scale in Iraq and Syria, happen to be second generation Europeans."

On the reason behind his decision to take up the matter with the UN chief, Zarif said, "In writing this letter, Mr. Secretary-General, I do not intend to lament obvious manifestations of double standards or find fault with highly-sanctioned policies by this or that western government or society.

"Rather, I share this concern with you with a more serious objective in mind. Considering the institutional capabilities of the United Nations… I tend to remain hopeful that the UN and its capacity and mechanisms can be brought to bear on an issue of immense international impact and reverberations."

In conclusion, the foreign minister said, "I strongly believe we urgently need to draw on our collective wisdom, at the level of the entire international community, to explore practical ways and means in this regard."