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Pakistan urges the UN to take urgent action against Islamophobia and anti-Islamic speech

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan had blatantly supported Pakistan's vague blasphemy laws during the general elections in Pakistan last year.

Pakistan has urged the United Nations (UN) to act against what it considers as Islamophobia and hate speech that according to the country is being used to secure narrow political and electoral gains in many parts of the world, including South Asian region. During a Security Council meeting on a hate speech proposal held on Wednesday, Pakistan’s Ambassador to UN Maleeha Lodhi termed Islamophia as the most prevalent expression of racism and hatred.

She said that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for urgent action to counter Islamophobia. “My Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently again called for urgent action to counter Islamophobia, which is today the most prevalent expression of racism and hatred against the other”, Lodhi told the UN officials. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan had blatantly supported Pakistan’s vague blasphemy laws during the general elections in Pakistan last year.

At the 14th Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held earlier this month, Khan had urged the OIC to safeguard the religious sentiments of Muslims. “It was up to us to explain to the western people the amount of pain they cause is when they ridicule or mock our Holy Prophet. I would like to say from this platform that in the forums like the United Nations and the forums like the European Union, we must explain to them that they cannot hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion people under the garb of freedom of expression”, Khan had said.

It was up to us to explain to the western people the amount of pain they cause us when they ridicule or mock our Holy Prophet,” Khan said at the OIC’s 14th Islamic Summit in Mecca. “I would like to say from this platform that in the forums like the United Nations and the forums like the European Union, we must explain to them that they cannot hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion people under the garb of freedom of expression.”

Lodhi talked about the need to evolve ways to hold information technology companies accountable for the content capable of causing violence. “Words don’t just have consequences. Words can kill. It is time that we evolve ways to ensure that information technology companies are held accountable for the content that incites violence and weaponises individuals”, she said.

She expressed the commitment to supporting the UN strategy on hate speech. “We are fully committed to support the UN’s strategy on hate speech. This is a moment for all of us to come together to reverse the tide of hate and bigotry that threatens to undermine social solidarity and peaceful co-existence”, said Lodhi.

UN General Secretary Antonio Guiterrez while addressing the Security Council’s session said that the UN, governments, technology companies, educational institutions need to step up their response with the increased reach of hate speech through new channels. He announced plans for a conference on the role of education in addressing hate speech.

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