Pak PM rejects attempts to equate Islam with terrorism

Pak PM rejects attempts to equate Islam with terrorism

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 24, 2019. (AFP)

Rejecting attempts to equate Islam with terrorism, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that such "self-serving approaches were dangerous and should be eschewed."

Noting the growing incidence of discrimination and violence based on religion and belief, Khan underscored the importance of addressing both the drivers and consequences of these phenomena, his office said in a statement.

Khan made the remarks while speaking at a high-level roundtable conference on Countering Hate Speech here on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session on Wednesday.

Highlighting that before the 9/11 attacks on the US, 75 per cent of suicide attacks were carried by the Tamil Tigers who were Hindus and Japanese suicide bombers attacked American ships during the World War II, Khan said that no one blamed their religion, the Dawn newspaper reported.

"Because religion has nothing to do with [...] no religion has anything to do with terrorism," he said at the conference co-hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Almost all terrorism is connected to politics. It is politically perceived injustices that produce desperate people. But now we keep hearing about radical Islam. There is only one Islam. The Islam of Prophet Muhammad which we follow. There is no other Islam," he said.

Khan's comments came days after US President Donald Trump vowed to protect innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism at the "Howdy Modi" event in Houston.

"The Prime Minister rejected attempts to equate Islam with terrorism, noting that such self-serving approaches were dangerous and therefore should be eschewed," his office said.

Noting that there is growing discrimination and violence based on faith and belief, Khan said that religion has no link to terrorism and instead "marginalisation of communities leads to radicalisation," Dawn reported.

Khan also cautioned against the denigration of revered Muslim personalities under the guise of "freedom of expression and opinion," the paper reported.

"The world must understand Muslim sensitivities for Islam and the reverence for Prophet Muhammad," he said, apparently referring to the competition for cartoons in Europe depicting revered Muslim figures.

The prime minister also called the need to promote greater understanding and tolerance between various communities across the globe.

Turkish President Erdogan said that hate speech "emerges before worst crimes against humanity" and observed that Muslims remain the most vulnerable community to hate speech in the world.

The President called for a balance between exercising the right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion.