France, EU, India object to International Day to Combat Islamophobia

France, EU, India object to International Day to Combat Islamophobia

France, the European Union (EU) and India have objected to the decision to declare 15 March the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

On Tuesday, members of the General Assembly adopted a resolution proposed by Pakistan to mark 15 March, the anniversary of the 2019 attack on two mosques in New Zealand that left 51 Muslims dead, as International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

Fifty-five Muslim-majority countries supported the resolution in the Riyadh-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Syria, Algeria, Morocco and many other countries in the Gulf and North Africa.

Britain’s Middle East Eye stated: “Representatives from France and India, which have also faced accusations of Islamophobia by their own Muslim communities, both spoke against the resolution, though neither opposed its adoption by consensus.”

Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the UN, described the resolution as “unsatisfactory” and “problematic”, telling the UN General Assembly that his country supports the protection of all religions and beliefs.

The French official added: “The term Islamophobia has no agreed-upon definition in international law, unlike the freedom of religion or conviction. But it’s this liberty that France defends, as well as all the other public freedoms, such as the freedom of expression or conviction,” according to Middle East Eye.

The EU, a bloc of 27 European countries with permanent observer status at the UN, echoed de Riviere’s concerns, but did not have the right to vote.

In a statement to the General Assembly, the EU expressed its concern about the multitude of international days and said the focus on Islamophobia was an “unnecessary repetition” after in 2019 the UN adopted 22 August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.

“We are concerned with the approach of addressing only one religion through a General Assembly initiative,” the EU’s statement expressed.

In this regard, Middle East Eye reported that Rayan Freschi, a researcher for Cage, a human rights group promoting Muslim communities affected by counter-terrorism policies, said that France’s protest to the UN resolution came as “no surprise”.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Permanent Representative of India T.S. Tirumurti also called for condemnation of “religious phobia” rather than singling out Islamophobia, referring to discrimination against Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.

Welcoming the resolution issued on Wednesday, Secretary-General of the OIC Hussein Ibrahim Taha shared his view that the resolution: “Will strengthen global awareness of the threat of hatred and intolerance against Muslims.”

On 15 March, 2019, the New Zealand city of Christchurch witnessed a horrific massacre, with an armed attack on worshippers at Al-Noor and Linwood mosques.

According to official figures, the massacre, which the perpetrator streamed live on his Facebook page, resulted in the murders of 51 people and the injuries of 49 others.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, a white supremacist, was charged with murder and sentenced last August to life imprisonment.
Source: www.middleeastmonitor.com

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