March 15 Becomes International Day to Combat Islamophobia: The United Nations General Assembly has approved resolution aimed at combatting religious discrimination.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has approved a resolution that sets March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed this approval. 

The resolution has been adopted by the consensus of the 193-member world body and co-sponsored by 55 prominently Muslim countries. As it emphasizes the right to freedom of religion and belief, it has recalled a 1981 resolution that called for “the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religious or belief,” Aljazeera stated. 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) played a major role in introducing the resolution. OIC wanted to specifically honor March 15. March 15 marks the date on which an armed individual entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, resulting in 51 deaths and 40 injuries. Hence, the International Day to Combat Islamophobia also honors the lives of those taken by the mosque shooting in addition to raising awareness towards religion-based discrimination. 

The resolution shows concern towards the increase of discrimination, tolerance, and violence directed at members of religious communities, including cases inspired by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and Christianophobia. All countries, UN bodies, international and regional organizations, civil society, the private sector, and faith-based organizations are asked “to organize and support various high-visibility events aimed at effectively increasing awareness of all levels about curbing Islamophobia, and to observe the new International Day to Combat Islamophobia,” Aljazeera shared.

Prime Minister Khan has regularly advocated against the rising Islamophobia in his addresses at a multitude of forums and through letters to predominantly Muslim countries. “Today, the UN has finally recognized the grave challenge confronting the world: of Islamophobia, respect for religious symbols, and practices and of curtailing systematic hate speech and discrimination against Muslims,” Prime Minister Khan tweeted. 

“Next challenge is to ensure implementation of this landmark resolution,” Prime Minister Khan further stated. 

Sources: Aljazeera