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Numerous manifestations of Islamophobia are observed in France,
Executive director of the Baku International Multiculturalism
Center (BIMC) Ravan Hasanov said.
He made the remarks at the international conference on
“Islamophobia as a Specific Form of Racism and Discrimination: New
Global and Transnational Challenges' held in Baku today.
According to him, France has many cases of Islamophobia despite
the fact that there are currently 5 million Muslims living
Similarly, Head of Ombudsman's Office, Member of the Independent
Standing Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation (IPHRC OIC) Aydin Safikhanli added that Islamophobia is
getting a wide scope in Sweden and France.
“Victims of discrimination have become victims of French
politics. All this is done under the guise of freedom of
expression, but it is unacceptable,” the official stated.
Moreover, the official underlined that racism and Islamophobia
are openly institutionalized and legalized in France, as many
French citizens become victims of police disrespect and hatred
Safikhanli also brought attention to the mass atrocities
committed by France against the people of Algeria and other
countries in Africa, South-East Asia, noting that such brutality
should never be forgotten.
According to him, for more than 130 years, France has waged a
terrible war against the Algerian people, which has claimed the
lives of more than 1.5 million Algerians.
'We must do everything possible to avoid these tragedies in the
future. One of the current problems to human rights at the
international level is the issue of bringing to justice all those
responsible for crimes against peace and humanity, and war crimes,”
Besides, Safikhanli stressed that the massive destruction of
Muslim monuments by Armenia was observed during the occupation.
Speaking at the conference, former Secretary General of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
expressed the need to address the politicization of
'We must accept that Islamophobia is a serious issue and we must
be dealt with properly. Islam is also local to the West, it is not
foreign to it. The number of European Muslims is in the millions.
Contributions of Muslim civilization to Western civilization should
be investigated,' he added.
The official underlined that in comparison with previous years,
manipulation in connection with Islam, the politicization of
Islamophobia, the creation of legal frameworks, the
institutionalization, and the constitutionalisation of Islamophobia
are especially noticeable today. He also added that the European
Court of Human Rights also makes decisions based on
'We are determined to fight Islamophobia, move from
confrontation to cooperation. We must convince the West that
Muslims are not trying to change Europe, change values, respond to
these populist statements and eliminate these concerns,' Ihsanoglu
Additionally, Chairman of Pakistani MUSLIM (Mission of Unity,
Stability & Leadership in Muslims) Institute Sultan Ahmad
Sahibzadeh underscored that Islamophobia is not the result of
ignorance, it is not connected with theological beliefs, but with
the policies that countries pursue.
During the discussion, the Pakistani pundit emphasized that
Islamophobia not only has such obvious manifestations as the
burning of the Koran but is also expressed in the daily
infringement of the rights of Muslims, which should not be
'It is necessary to deepen the study of Islamophobia in order to
fight it at all levels,' Sakhibzadeh added.
He also added that Islamophobia is on the rise in South Asian
countries and is particularly widespread in India.
Moreover, UN Deputy Secretary General, High Representative of
the UN Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Angel Moratinos called on
people to fight Islamophobia together by promoting Islam as a
religion of peace and monotheism.
'The day against Islamophobia was declared because this problem
stands next to such challenges and threats to the world as
xenophobia and intolerance. Muslims have the right to be proud of
their origin. We hope that within two days we'll discuss important
issues on how to respect Islam and fight Islamophobia together,' he
In a similar manner, President of the G20 Interreligious
Dialogue Forum Cole Durham expressed the importance for religious
people to raise their voices against Islamophobia.
He noted that the main challenge ahead is to involve religious
leaders in this issue.
'They should show leadership qualities in this regard.
Polarization should be reduced. Through friendship and education,
we can contribute to this,' he stressed.
To recap, March 15 was designated as the“International Day to
Combat Islamophobia” at the session of the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), held in
Niamey, Niger, on 27-28 November 2020. Later, in 2022, the United
Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring March 15 as
“International Day to Combat Islamophobia”.
On March 15-16, the Baku International Multiculturalism Center
(BIMC), the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR
Center), and the G20 Interfaith Forum are organizing an
international conference dedicated to the International Day to
Combat Islamophobia themed“Islamophobia as a Specific Form of
Racism and Discrimination: New Global and Transnational
The main purpose of the conference is to provide an academic
discussion platform on the alarming trends targeting Muslims and
Muslim-populated countries at international and national
The conference, bringing together scientists, experts of
international organizations, religious figures, and representatives
of non-governmental organizations from 32 countries, is featuring
discussions on different approaches in the fight against
Islamophobia, a manifestation of Islamophobia in some European
countries, Islamophobia in the international media.
Sabina Mammadli is AzerNews' staff journalist, follow her on