The resolution to declare 15 March as Anti Islamophobia say, which Pakistan proposed on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), was unanimously accepted.
On Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution proposed by Pakistan declaring March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia, with India expressing worry over the elevation of phobia against one religion to such level while omitting others.
The resolution, which Pakistan proposed on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), was unanimously accepted. It received support from 57 OIC members as well as eight additional nations, including China and Russia.
TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative to the United Nations, expressed profound worry over the rise in cases of discrimination, intolerance, and violence against members of several religious communities in many areas of the world in explaining India’s position on the resolution.
He said, “let me also state that we condemn all acts motivated by anti-Semitism, Christianophobia or Islamophobia. However, such phobias are not restricted to Abrahamic religions only.”
Tirumurti pointed out that Hinduism has over 1.2 billion followers, Buddhism has over 535 million, and Sikhism has over 30 million, and that it is time to address the “prevalence of religiophobia, rather than single out only one.”
He further said, “It is in this context that we are concerned about elevating the phobia against one religion to the level of an international day, to the exclusion of all the others. Celebration of a religion is one thing but to commemorate the combating of hatred against one religion is quite another.”
Tirumurti mentioned “anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist, and anti-Sikh phobias” as examples of religious phobias that have harmed followers of non-Abrahamic religions in explaining India’s attitude.
The resolution “may easily wind up downplaying the significance of phobias against all other religions”, Tirumurti added.
“These current manifestations of religiophobia can be seen on the rise in attacks on religious sites of worship like gurudwaras, monasteries, temples, and other places of worship, or in the promotion of hatred and disinformation against non-Abrahamic religions in many nations,” he continued.
He also mentioned the destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, as well as “violation of gurudwara premises, massacre of Sikh pilgrims in gurudwaras, attack on temples, and glorification of idol breaking in temples,” all of which he claimed “contribute to the rise of contemporary forms of religiophobia against non-Abrahamic religions.”
According to Tirumurti, India has always welcomed “people persecuted throughout the world for their faith or belief” since it is a diverse and democratic country that is home to practically all world religions.
He added, “They have always found a safe haven in India shorn of persecution or discrimination. This is true whether they were Buddhists or Zoroastrians or Jews or people of any other faith. Therefore, it is with deep concern that we have viewed the growing manifestation of intolerance, discrimination or violence against followers of religions, including rise in sectarian violence, in some countries.”
India is proud of its plurality, Tirumurti said, and “we fully believe in equal protection and development of all sects and faiths.” In this context, he added, it’s disappointing that the word “pluralism” isn’t used in the resolution, and that the its sponsor didn’t incorporate India’s amendments to include it in the text.
India hopes that the resolution does not establish a precedent that divides the United Nations into “religious camps,” and that the world organisation remains above “religious considerations that may aim to divide us rather than bring us together,” he added.