Selangor Journal
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during his meeting with Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Turkish House in New York, on September 20, 2023. — Picture via X/ANWAR IBRAHIM

Malaysia, Turkiye agree on measures to combat Islamophobia, racism

NEW YORK, Sept 21 — Malaysia and Turkiye have reached a consensus on measures to address the threats of Islamophobia and racism, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said.

He said both countries will undertake efforts to deal with those issues through various ongoing and future measures.

Anwar said he and Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed to enhance cooperation efforts and strategies to curb anti-Muslim hate groups based around the world.

“We discussed (the issue) of extreme prejudice against Islam in the West and other countries. In my meeting with President Erdogan, we agreed to enhance efforts on cooperation and strategies to resolve such issues,” the prime minister said in a media conference here.

Both leaders are in New York to attend the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and held a bilateral meeting at the Turkish House here yesterday.

Anwar said Turkiye will implement those strategies at activity locations in Europe and the Middle East and Malaysia, in Asia.

“A series of conferences were organised prior to this and they will continue (to be held). Further discussions on efforts against Islamophobia will continue to be pursued during Erdogan’s visit to Malaysia in December,” he said.

In addition to conferences and explanatory sessions, the prime minister said efforts to address prejudice and extreme attitudes towards Islam to the global community through publications will also be done, among them by publishing 100,000 copies of the Quran in various languages.

This includes 15,000 copies translated in Swedish, which have been sent to that country, he said, adding that copies of the Quran have also been distributed to countries such as Australia and the United States, among others, and also learning centres, universities and mosques.

In the 30-minute-long meeting, both leaders also issued a joint statement on “Increasing Hatred, Intolerance, Discrimination and Acts of Violence Against Muslims and Their Sanctities” to express their views on anti-Muslim sentiments.

Anwar, Erdogan condemn Quran burnings

Meanwhile, the two leaders strongly condemned the recent burnings of the Quran and populist discourses that incite hate speech against Islam.

In their joint statement, they expressed concern over the emergence of a “new form of racism” characterised by xenophobia, negative profiling and stereotyping of Muslims.

Erdogan and Anwar also expressed deep concern on the trend of increasing hatred, intolerance, discrimination and acts of violence against Muslims and their sanctities that has reached an alarming level in many parts of the world, especially in Europe, Anadolu Agency quoted the statement.

The leaders said they welcomed the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 76/254 to declare March 15 as the “International Day to Combat Islamophobia.”

They also welcomed the urgent debate during the 53rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council to discuss the “alarming rise” in premeditated and public acts of religious hatred as manifested by the recurrent desecration of the holy Quran and the adoption of an UN Human Rights Council resolution defining the burning of holy books as religious hatred.

The leaders also welcomed General Assembly Resolution 77/318 on Promoting Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue and Tolerance in Countering Hate Speech adopted on July 25.

According to the statement, Erdogan and Anwar also underlined that actions of religious hatred, racism, discrimination and xenophobia pose a threat to peace and incite a culture of violence.

The leaders also called on all relevant stakeholders, including governments, to increase efforts to address discrimination, xenophobia, racism and hate speech in line with international human rights.

— Bernama

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