New York: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that religion has no link with terrorism and that it is "marginalisation of communities that leads to radicalisation".
He said that before 9/11, 75 per cent of suicide attacks were by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka who were Hindus. "No one talked about Hinduism having anything to do with suicide attacks," he said at roundtable on hate speech co-hosted by Pakistan and Turkey on the margins of the UNGA here. Imran Khan along with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addressed the conference. Erdogan in his speech cited incidents in India where Muslims had been "lynched for eating beef".
The roundtable also featured a key note address by High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC) Miguel Angel Moratinos. He said that it is necessary to put an end to hate speech in the world. Imran Khan said that terrorism was associated with Islam after the September 11, 2001 attacks and leaders of the western countries frequently used the terms like "Islamic terrorism" and "Islamic radicals". "The moment you use the word Islamic radicals, it means that there is something in Islam that produces radicals," he said.
He called upon the need for addressing "both the drivers and consequences of these phenomena". He also cautioned against the denigration of revered personalities under the guise of "freedom of expression and opinion". "The world must understand Muslim sensitivities for Islam and the reverence for Prophet Muhammad PBUH," he said. He underscored the need for effective measures to be put in place so that hate speech, especially that which stems from Islamophobia, can be countered. "Marginalisation of any community leads to radicalisation," the PMO statement quoted him as saying.
He said that "desperate human beings" throughout history have committed what are known as suicide attacks. "Before 9/11, 75 per cent of suicide attacks were by Tamil Tigers who were Hindus. No one talked about Hinduism having anything to do with suicide attacks." He said when Japanese suicide bombers attacked American ships during World War II, no one blamed their religion.
"Because religion has nothing to do with [...] no religion has anything to do with terrorism," he stressed. "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 (PBUH) which we follow. There is no other Islam."
"I have seen Pakistani community in England marginalised in [the] areas of Manchester and Birmingham, and we have seen radicals coming out of these communities," Khan said. "And we have seen the same process in Europe because of Islamophobia." The prime minister called on the international community to take effective measures to counter these two phenomena.
He urged the need to recognise that a greater understanding and tolerance between various communities across the globe needs to be promoted. "We Muslim leaders have not explained to the Western societies how painful it is when our Prophet is maligned, mocked, ridiculed." 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.
He cited incidents in India where Muslims had been "lynched for eating beef". "Kashmir has been turned into an open prison. We fear blood shed there," the Turkish president remarked. He had on Tuesday raised the Kashmir issue in his speech at the UNGA. According to a handout by the UNAOC, the high-level roundtable "is aimed at identifying measures and approaches required to effectively address and mitigate the impacts of hate speech on societies across the world, with a view to fostering tolerance and inclusivity".