by: Ch. Muhammad Natiq Ubaid
General Assembly Unanimously Adopts Texts on Combating Islamophobia, Protecting Rangelands, Tackling Difficulties for Widows, Bicycles as Public Transportation. A resolution proclaiming 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly today, along with three other texts addressing the difficulties facing widows, the preservation of rangelands and a call to integrate bicycles into public transportation methods.
The representative of Pakistan, introducing the resolution calling for establishing the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, said Islamophobia has emerged as a new form of racism that includes, among others, discriminatory travel bans, hate speech and the targeting of girls and women for their dress. The text called for expanded international efforts to create a global dialogue that will encourage tolerance and peace centred on respect for human rights and the diversity of religions and beliefs.
The representative of Guyana said the designation of an international day is an important way to counter Islamophobia and its negative trends, such as limited access to housing, education and employment. Global action will help counter increasing acts of violence against Muslims and Muslim communities around the world, she said.
However, the representative of France noted that Islamophobia has no agreed definition in international law. France supports the protection of all religions and beliefs, he said, adding that his delegation had proposed a text that endorsed the freedom of all religions and beliefs. The creation of an international day does not respond to concerns to counter all forms of discrimination, he stressed.