Participants of the international conference themed “Islamophobia as a Specific Form of Racism and Discrimination: New Global and Transnational Challenges” in Baku have released a joint communiqué, AzVision.az reports.
According to the communiqué, the conference was aimed to contribute to the fight against Islamophobia in all its forms and manifestations.
“The participants of the conference, referring to the resolution 12408 (2022) adopted by the UN General Assembly, proclaiming March 15 as the International Day against Islamophobia, stressed that Islamophobia has emerged as a new form of racism, which includes, among other things, discrimination, stigmatization and exclusion in all areas life,” the communiqué said.
The communiqué noted that during the conference, participants discussed issues of an inter-sectoral approach in the fight against Islamophobia, conspiracy theories about Muslims in Western cultures, historical and modern views on Islamophobia, joint cooperation in the fight against Islamophobia and the role of international organizations, building harmonious societies by encouraging religious diversity and interfaith respect.
“The participants recognized that Islamophobia and Orientalism, in all their complexity, have deep roots in the history of European colonialism. They stressed the presence of Islamophobic prejudices and mindsets among politicians and their influence in many political institutions at all levels, from the European Parliament to local municipalities,” the communiqué further said.
Besides, according to the communiqué, deep concern was expressed about the ever-increasing signs of structural Islamophobia in Europe and other parts of the world, which has recently reached its peak.
“The conference participants called for an end to the spread of prejudice and bias against Islam and Muslims that undermines the foundations of inclusive societies, emphasized the need to establish clear boundaries between freedom of speech and incitement to hatred and to prevent defamatory and mocking rhetoric (for example, in the case of Charlie Hebdo),” the communiqué also noted.
Following the communiqué, the conference reaffirmed the responsibility of international organizations and politicians to expand existing legal instruments and policy measures, which are insufficient to combat stereotypes about Islam and Muslims.
“The participants agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the fight against Islamophobia. Gratitude is expressed to the organizers of the conference for the timely initiative and hospitality," the communiqué concluded.
The international conference dedicated to the International Day to Combat Islamophobia was organized by the Baku International Multiculturalism Center (BIMC), the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center), and the G20 Interfaith Forum on March 15-16.
The main purpose of the conference was to provide an academic discussion platform on the alarming trends targeting Muslims and Muslim-populated countries at international and national levels.
The conference, bringing together scientists, experts of international organizations, religious figures, and representatives of non-governmental organizations from 32 countries, featured discussions on different approaches in the fight against Islamophobia, a manifestation of Islamophobia in some European countries, and Islamophobia in the international media.
15 March 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 November 27-28, 2020. In 2022, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring March 15 “International Day to Combat Islamophobia”.