Is it freedom of speech or Islamophobia ?

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PRIME Minister Imran Khan again expressed feelings of entire Muslim world on the issue of rising incidents of Islamophobia and has done so in a consistent and forceful manner.

Taking to twitter on Saturday, he once again called on the West to criminalise Islamophobia and hatemongering against Muslims the same way they had outlawed any expression against Holocaust.

He also demanded an apology from extremist element in western countries who under the garb of freedom of speech hurt sentiments of 1.3 billion Muslims with their blasphemous acts against the Prophet of Islam (Peace Be Upon Him).

The words of the Prime Minister should be given serious consideration as hate acts against Muslims are undoubtedly reaching epidemic proportions in western countries, posing a real threat to their own societies as well.

It is not the Muslims but western countries that are heading for dangerous paths of extremism and radicalism. They have no respect for faith and beliefs of Muslims.

Blasphemous caricatures are deliberately published every now and then to provoke sentiments of Muslims.

Then hurdles are being created in the way of Muslims to practice their religion. Over the years, Muslim places of worship have been shut in different European countries.

Ban on wearing scarf exposes their double standard on basic human rights. Negative and one-sided portrayals of Muslims in the media have only further worsened the situation.

Time has come that western world takes corrective course before it is too late, and as suggested by the PM, beginning should be made from outlawing Islamophobic acts.

Extremists either in the West or any other place should not be allowed under any circumstances to dictate their terms, cultivate seeds of hatred and disturb lives of ordinary citizens.

Furthermore, interfaith dialogue between communities and outreach programs at various levels should be encouraged to better understand each other’s viewpoint and remove misunderstandings amongst followers of different faiths.

While leaders like Prime Minister Imran Khan and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been fighting the case of Muslim world, it is also imperative for other Muslim leaders to also forcefully add their voice.

Human rights organisations and the UN should rise above lip service and take practical steps to protect Muslims against rising Islamophobia.