Turkish Minister of Religious Affairs Dr. Ali Erbas has said that Islamophobia is a grave menace based on extremism and its mass dissemination by anti-Muslim elements has resulted in misleading and negative image of Islam.
He expressed these views in his address as Chief Guest in a seminar on the topic of “ Islamophobia: dimensions and its possible solutions” held here at the International Islamic University (IIU) on Monday. The seminar was jointly organized by University’s Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) and Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue (IRD).
The Turkish Minister said that disseminating misguidance and hatred is tantamount to following the devil. The Turkish Minister of Religious Affairs said Western media outlets are trying to distort the image of Islam and atrocities against Muslims are on the rise even in India and Myanmar. He said that the language based on Islamophobic content is common on electronic and social media and Western media houses are pursuing anti-Islamic policy. Dr. Ali Erbas called upon intellectuals, media, leaders, researchers and human rights organizations to raise voice against the mistreatment of Islam. He maintained that Islam is a religion of peace and mercy which emphasizes justice and respects the rights. He said that these are high times for Muslims to thwart anti-Islamic conspiracies through unity, knowledge and wisdom.
Addressing the seminar, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said that Islamophobia had started with the proclamation of Prophethood. He said that the Heads of States of Pakistan and Turkey are known across the world to utter the word of truth, therefore both countries are active to tackle the challenge of Islamophobia. He referred to the Prime Minister’s speech at the United Nations saying that the PM represented the sentiments of Muslims across the world. The Minister of Religious Affairs said that the worst form of Islamophobia is in India where Muslims face this negative attitude every day. He thanked the government of Kuwait for raising the voice of Muslims in the assembly. The Minister for Religious Affairs said that Hindutva was being promoted under the leadership of Modi. “Instead of damaging our property in response to blasphemous attempts, we must speak to the world with arguments and preaching Islam, ” he said. Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said that it was time to promote Islam’s message of tolerance and peace in the world.
Rector of the University Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai in his speech said that there is large a number of Islamic University graduates in the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs. “At the moment, we have to formulate a narrative to dispel misconceptions against Islam,” he said. He said that the Islamic University is working on the exchange of delegations to promote academic relations with Turkish universities through the Mevlana program.
Addressing the seminar, Professor, Dr. N.B.Jumani , Vice President, Administration and Finance briefed about the history , vision and future plans of the university. He said that the university currently has 2,500 foreign students hailing from more than 40 countries. However, there are more than 15,000 female students studying in a separate campus dedicated to female students. He also informed about the newly formulated strategic plan of the university and IIUI’s the activities of online and distance education.
Dr. Zafar Iqbal, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, while addressing on Islamophobia, said that Islamophobia is a term dating back more than a century. He opined that Islamophobia is historic in nature. He added that Islamophilia at home causes Islamophobia abroad. Prof. Dr. Zafar Iqbal called upon Muslim youth to join the leading positions in the West and advised the Muslim youth to promote Islamic culture on the occasions of Islamic festivals. Dr. Zafar stressed that Muslim countries should form a consortium to deal with blasphemous social media content and formulate a detailed media policy in this regard. He stressed on the OIC to take steps to monitor Islamophobia.
Earlier, the ministers of religious affairs of Turkey and Pakistan planted the sapling of olive, while they were presented commemorative shields of the university.