Muslim Nations press the United Nations to do more to tackle Islamophobia in the West.
The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) criticised a UN’s anti racism report as failing to highlight contemporary racism of Islamophobia in Europe and other western countries.
There is growing concern among OIC nation that Muslims are targets of racism and discrimination that was being watered down by the UN. Ahmed Ihab Gamaleldin, the Egyptian delegate said:
“ People of foreign descent, such as Africans, Arabs, Muslims and Asians, do face derogatory stereotyping and stigmatization in an environment of victimization and xenophobia and, at times, violence.”
Delegates were focused on drafting new UN freedom of religion guidelines. These are likely to be passed as a result of a strong progressive bloc of nations in favour of the proposed new guidelines.
One provision calls on the UN investigator to “work closely with mass media organizations to ensure that they create and promote an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for religious and cultural diversity,” according to the draft that Pakistan tabled on behalf of the OIC.
However critics such as the campaigning organisation Human Right Watch have noted that whilst Muslim countries are right to raise concerns about the rising incidence of Islamophobia they need to do much more in tackling the discrimination faced by non Muslims in Islamic countries in particular religious education texts in schools that appear to promote hatred of non Muslims.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based watchdog group said:
“UN Watch is alarmed by the Islamic bloc’s attempt to turn an international shield for religious freedom into a sword for religious-motivated state censorship. It’s part of a larger campaign to invert the real danger of Islamist extremism into an imagined narrative of Western victimization of Islam and its adherents.”
The UN needs to do more to tackle religious prejudice across the globe and for Muslim nations that will mean tackling human rights abuses both at home and abroad.