Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz welcomes Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to the opening session of Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Makkah yesterday morning. Image Credit: AFP

MAKKAH: Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday while terming the phenomena of blasphemy and Islamophobia the OIC’s failure, urged the Muslim world body to play an effective role in safeguarding the rights of Muslims and their religious sentiments.

Addressing the 14th Islamic Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Makkah, the prime minister said the blasphemous acts against Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in the western world was the failure of the OIC for not being able to explain to them the love and affection the Muslims had for the Holy Prophet.

The prime minister said, “How He (the Prophet) lives in our heart. It was up to us to explain to the western people the amount of pain they cause us when they ridicule or mock our Holy Prophet.”

He said in the west the people did not treat religion like the Muslims treated Islam. They had a totally different attitude to the religion, he added.

“I would like to say from this platform that in the forums like the United Nations and the forums like the European Union, we must explain to them that they cannot hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion people under the garb of freedom of expression.”

He said the western world dealt with the issue of Holocaust sensitively as the Jewish community had successfully explained to them that any misinterpretation of the Holocaust gave them pain. But that sensitivity lacked when they talked about the Holy Quran and the Prophet (PBUH).

Moreover, he said, the western world had equated Islam with terrorism which had done tremendous disservice to the Muslim community.

“Religion has nothing to do with terrorism. No religion allows the killing of innocent human beings. This has led to Islamophobia. The moment that is referred to define terrorism, the people in the west could not distinguish between a moderate Muslim and a radical Muslim.”

Suspicions, he said, had been raised against the whole Muslim world. The shooting of 50 Muslims in two New Zealand’s mosques happened because they could not understand that Islam had nothing to do with terrorism, he added.

The prime minister said before the 9/11, around 80 per cent of the suicide attacks were carried out by the Tamil Tigers but no one had blamed Hinduism for that. The religion had nothing to do with that because it was a political struggle.

He said in Second World War, when the Japanese pilots blew themselves up on American ships, no one had blamed their religion for it.

Besides causing Islamophobia, he said the OIC’s inability also led to delegitimising the Muslim political freedom struggles which were termed ‘Islamic radicalism’.

The prime minister said the Muslim world was not paying much attention to science and technology despite being on the verge of another industrial revolution with artificial intelligence and blockchain and new technologies coming in.

“We must not be left behind again. We as a Muslim world must spend more of our resources in strengthening ourselves in this field. We must pay more attention to quality education in universities,” he added.