During his address to the 14th Session of OIC Conference in Makkah –Al-Makarramah, Prime Minister Imran Khan made a strong and impassioned plea for the OIC to take a firm stand on the issue of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
The Summit was hosted and chaired by Khadim-Al-Harmain Sharifain King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud under the theme ‘Hand in Hand Towards the Future’.
The Prime Minister made a direct appeal to the participating Kings, Heads of States and Heads of Governments. He opened his statement by mentioning that the response of the Muslim Ummah and OIC was lacking when the West blasphemed the Holy Prophet. He emphasised that the OIC owed a responsibility to the Muslim World in terms of the need to take a strong position on blasphemy.
The Prime Minister added that acts of blasphemy towards the Holy Prophet (PBUH) emanating from the Western countries were both willful as well as out of ignorance. He emphasized the need on the part of the OIC to better educate the West on the importance of religion among Muslims as well as their love and affection for the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He emphasized that the West must not be allowed to hurt the feelings of the Muslim World under the garb of freedom of opinion and expression.
The Prime Minister further emphasized the importance of countering Islamophobia with particular reference to conflation of “violent extremism” with Islam and use of terms like “Islamic terrorism” and “radical Islam.” He urged that the West should differentiate between the vast majority of moderate Muslims and the largely fringe extremist elements. He underscored that political struggles must not be allowed to be delegitimized by branding them as acts of terrorism.
The Prime Minister cited the examples of just struggles by the peoples of Palestine and Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir which were often maligned as “terrorism” by their oppressors. He called upon OIC to make resolute efforts to ensure delinking of legitimate political struggles from terrorism and actively supporting Kashmiris towards realization of their right to self-determination under the relevant UN resolutions.
The Prime Minister also reiterated Pakistan’s unwavering support for a two-state solution of the Palestine issue — with Al Quds Al Sharif as the capital of the Palestinian state as well as the return of Golan Heights.
In the final part of his statement, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of promoting science, technology and innovation for the people of OIC member states so as to ensure that they must not be left behind in the age of the next industrial revolution. He remarked that the OIC platform and resources must be used to ensure provision of quality education in the Muslim World which were not lacking in potential in terms of human and natural resources.