OIC calls for international effort to fight Islamophobia

The organisation's chief said Friday's attacks should serve as a warning about the growth of right-wing ideologies

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubair (R) is seen during the emergency meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers on January 21, 2018, in Jeddah. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER
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The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation said the heinous attacks on Muslims in New Zealand should be a rallying cry for the international community to gather around combating hate speech and Islamophobia.

Secretary General Youssef Al Othaimeen condemned the attacks that killed 50 people on Friday, and said they should be proof that terrorism and other vile acts of human indignity are not religiously motivated.

“The world today has an opportunity to recognise that terrorism has no religion or nationality and that everybody can be exposed to the threat it posses. We need collective action to outline our responsibilities and criminalise targeted hostility towards religion,” he said.

The OIC had worked with 56 countries in Abu Dhabi during the organisation’s annual conference earlier this month to formulate policies and increase co-operation on how to combat hate speech and xenophobia.

Mr Al Othaimeen has lauded New Zealand’s efforts in launching a full investigation into the crime and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's statements saying that her administration will be rethinking the country's gun control laws after the attack.

He also praised Saudi Arabia’s role in confronting the mass-shooting and its support for the families of the victims. Saudi Arabia and the international community had confronted the rhetoric of hatred and terrorism in the face of attack, which killed 50 worshippers on Friday.

"The words of King Salman bin Abdulaziz support the OIC with monitoring and combating hate against Islam, or what is known as Islamophobia," he said.

He pointed out that the organisation was clear in its periodic reports about the spread of this phenomenon, right-wing and populist discourse, on every occasion in which the OIC takes part.

Mr Al Othaimeen added that the mass-shootings should come as a warning to the world against the growing wave of right-wing ideologies and the resurgence of Islamophobia.