Geneva (UNA-OIC) – Commemorating the 3rd anniversary of the Christchurch Terrorist Attacks, the OIC Group in Geneva said that It is with the deepest sadness that the Group commemorates the third anniversary of Christchurch terrorist attacks.
It added that “at this time of grief, the Group members extend their thoughts and prayers to the 51 families who lost brothers, fathers, husbands, and sons to the gruesome acts of terror”.
The Group commends the exemplary leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and deeply appreciates the solidarity of the people of New Zealand with the families of the innocent victims and the broader Muslim community. The Group notes with satisfaction dispensation of justice by the High Court of New Zealand in August 2020.
The Group notes that the Christchurch and similar attacks elsewhere against people of Islamic faith have taken place in the backdrop of systemic stereotyping and stigmatization, accentuating phobia, intolerance, hatred, and violence against them.
“These attacks are a sober reminder that terrorism and extremism do not belong to any religion, race, nationality, and ethnicity,” it emphasized. The Group reiterates its strong condemnation of Islamophobic acts and deliberate attempts to equate adherents of the Islamic faith with terrorism.
The Group reiterates its long-standing concerns about a resurgence in racist ideologies, incendiary rhetoric by public office holders for electoral gains, and discriminatory policies, laws, and practices against Muslims in various parts of the world.
The Group notes with grave concern that these developments have been instrumental in mainstreaming and normalizing intolerance, discrimination, and violence against Muslims. In this context, the Group invites attention to the report on anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia presented by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2020.
The Group further condemns the willful denigration of revered Muslim personalities, their Holy Scripture, and symbols under the erroneous notion of free speech and press freedom. The Group underscores that the right to freedom of expression and opinion is neither absolute nor it grants anyone the license to deliberately provoke and hurt the sentiments of billions of Muslims.
The OIC Group in Geneva reiterates its call for meaningful and effective implementation of the 08-point Action Plan enshrined in UN Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 in order to prevent and counter intolerance, discrimination, and violence against individuals and communities due to their religious beliefs.
Welcoming the statement entitled “A Call for Mutual Respect” by the High Representative of the UN Alliance for Civilization, the Group reaffirms its resolve to work closely with member states, relevant UN, regional and faith-based organizations, civil society, and social media companies to combat this contemporary form of racism and discrimination.
The Group reiterates its support for the designation of 15 March by the UN General Assembly as International Day to combat Islamophobia.