Grand Imam Al Azhar Dr. Ahmed Al Tayeb Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dr. Ahmed Al Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif, on Wednesday called on the international community to adopt a universal legislation criminalising hate against Muslims and discrimination against them and others in rights and duties.

Dr. Al Tayeb, meanwhile, called on Muslims to “integrate positively and not to drift into the provocations of extremism and racism”.

The call by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, the Muslim world’s top Sunni Islamic institution, was in reaction to the re-publication of the blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) published by Charlie Hebdo in 2015.

At a gathering celebrating the Prophet’s birthday anniversary, Dr. Al Tayeb also condemned the slaying of a French teacher in Paris by an extremist as “an odious and painful murder.”

“Offending Islam and Muslims has become a tool to mobilise votes. The offensive cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) [constitute] blatant hostility against this noble religion and its Prophet,” he said.

The Grand Imam added: “These offensive cartoons adopted by some newspapers and some policies, constitute a violation of all international and legal norms and open hostility towards Islam and Muslims.”

He urged Muslims to resort to peaceful and legal means to resist hate speech.

He urged Muslims in Western countries to integrate “positively and consciously” into their societies so as to uphold their religious and cultural identity, and not to drift into the provocations of extremism, racism and hatred.

“Muslim citizens should follow peaceful and legal methods to confront hate speech to obtain their legitimate rights and follow the morals of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

Al Azhar will launch a global platform to introduce Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) to the world in seven languages ... the Observatory of Al Azhar will operate the electronic platform to confront radical ideology and extremism,” Dr. Al Tayeb said.