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.
Imran 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 percent 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," Imran Khan said.
"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. Imran 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.
Imran 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.
As the bonhomie between India and US was put to display at the Howdy Modi extravagant evening, President Donald Trump sternly stood with India to protect the citizens of both countries from the threat of 'radical Islamic terror.' Following the statement, the US President was greeted with long, thunderous applause from the Indian-American community in Texas.
Donald Trump said, "We honour the Indian and American military servicemen who safeguard our freedom. We stand proudly in defensive liberty and we are committed to protecting innocent civilians with the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. Both India and the US also understand to keep our community safe, we must protect our borders. We are going to take if Indian-Americans before the illegal immigrants."
(With PTI inputs)