PM says linking Islam with terrorism is unacceptable.

ISLAMABAD -- Prime Minister Imran Khan said Tuesday that to bridge the widening gulf between Islamic states and the West, his prime goal is to relay a strong message through Muslim world that any insult to Holy Prophet (PBUH) and linking Islam with terrorism is unacceptable.

'The western societies are unaware about the love and reverence we have for Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him). It is our responsibility to make them understand to end Islamophobia,' he said in an interaction with Islamabad-based ambassadors of the member countries of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), telecast on state television on Tuesday.

'We need to tell them that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lives in our hearts and hence we love and respect him in a way that under the garb of freedom of expression, any insult or mockery will not be allowed,' he said. The prime minister recalled that on assuming charge of his office, he had decided to remove the misunderstandings of West about 'radical' approach of Islam as propagated by western media and analysts.

'Muslims could be radical or moderate, but the term 'radical Islam' must not be used in any way,' he said, adding that the negative mindset was leading to rise of Islamophobia. He mentioned that any mockery of Holy Prophet (PBUH), either through caricatures or statement, was taken in Islamic countries as a 'deliberate attempt to abuse the religion'.

He pointed that Islamic countries did not make effective joint efforts in the past to counter the growing trend of Islamophobia. He said Pakistan's initiatives at the international level for creation of awareness about Islamophobia were aimed at building mutual understanding and promoting inter-faith harmony.

Noting that Islamophobic acts fanned inter-religious hatred and disharmony among civilizations, the prime minister called for addressing the underlying reasons for the rise in such incidents worldwide.

'Falsely equating Islam with radicalism and terrorism was leading to the marginalisation and stigmatisation of Muslims,' he said. He underscored the imperative of Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) collective efforts to project the true image of Islam and its message of peace and tolerance.

Recalling the two letters addressed by him to the leaders of the Islamic world last year, the prime minister briefed the envoys on Pakistan's efforts at the international level to create awareness about Islamophobia and the need to collectively address the phenomenon.


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