Pakistan threw its full weight behind the new UN Strategy and Plan of Action to combat hate speech, saying that language was being used to secure narrow political and electoral gains in many parts of the world, including the South Asian region.
MSN “An inevitable consequence is to fan the flames of bigotry, intolerance, anti-Muslim hatred and xenophobia,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres unveiled the strategy at a special meeting held in the packed ECOSOC chamber on Tuesday, says a press release.
“My Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently again called for urgent action to counter Islamophobia, which is today the most prevalent expression of racism (What ‘race’ is Islam?) and hatred against ‘the other’,” the Pakistani envoy told ambassadors, senior diplomats and high ranking UN officials.
Yes, but YOUR prime minister, Imran Khan, denigrated Jesus in 2018 has called for an international convention banning speech deemed insulting to Muslims and claimed there does not exist any historical “mention” of Jesus. ‘There is no mention of Jesus in history,’ ‘but the entire life of Muhammad, who was Allah’s last prophet, is part of history’ said Khan. MEMRI translated this speech below:
Pakistani PM Imran Khan Says "No Mention of Jesus in History," Announces Intl. Anti-Blasphemy Convention: The West Should Be Made to Understand Our Love for Muhammad pic.twitter.com/i8C6wVzbIb
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) November 27, 2018
Turning to periodic outbursts of anger over the publication of cartoons and other satirical portrayals of Muhammad, Khan said the often violent reactions were being used to tarnish Islam.
“Every few years, in some Western country, our dear Prophet is blasphemed against and dishonored. What is the consequence of this? Muslims become angry. We take to the streets in protest, [protesters] break things in our country… It enables the enemies of Muslims to tell people in the West: ‘See, Islam is a big religion that spreads violence,’” he said. “They get an opportunity to spread propaganda against Islam.”
Khan credited the intervention of his foreign minister with the cancellation earlier this year of a Mohammad cartoon competition in the Netherlands planned by a far-right politician (Geert Wilders).
The UN Strategy and Plan of Action provides a system-wide programme with the overriding objective of identifying, preventing and confronting hate speech. The secretary-general said, ‘It targets the root causes of hate speech, pointing out that these include tackling violence, marginalisation, discrimination, and poverty, as well as bolstering weak state institutions.
The new strategy recommends a coordinated response, such as identifying and shaming users of hate speech. Secondly, the strategy aims to enable the UN to respond to “the impact of hate speech on societies”, Guterres explained, including by bringing individuals and groups together who have opposing views; working with traditional and social media platforms; and developing communications guidance.
In her comments, Ambassador Lodhi said, “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.”
Ambassador Lodhi called for government interventions to fight hate speech, including national legislation, emphasised that social media platforms should not become conduits for incitement to violence and evolving ways to ensure that information technology companies were held accountable for the content that incited violence and weaponised individuals.
In addition, she called for framing a more focused strategy to deal with the various expressions of Islamophobia. A ‘whole of government’ and a ‘whole of society’ approach was needed. In this regard, the Pakistani envoy urged the secretary-general to engage with a wide range of actors, including governments, civil society and social media companies to take action and stop social media users being funneled into online sources of radicalization.
While raising the issue of Islamophobia, PM Khan said “when someone from the West blasphemed our Holy Prophet (PBUH), I always felt the response from the Muslim Ummah and OIC was lacking.”