'Cannot stand by and let another Gujarat happen': Qureshi asks OIC to stop attack on Muslims in India

Updated 29 Apr 2020

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and others "cannot stand by and let another Gujarat happen" and that it is incumbent upon them and the international community to take notice of India's ongoing vilification of Muslims. — AFP/FIle
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and others "cannot stand by and let another Gujarat happen" and that it is incumbent upon them and the international community to take notice of India's ongoing vilification of Muslims. — AFP/FIle

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and others "cannot stand by and let another Gujarat happen" — referring to the 2002 massacre in India — and asked the body to stop the attack on Muslims under the Narendra Modi-led government.

In a video message shared on his Twitter account, the foreign minister said that he has written a letter to secretary general of OIC, pointing to India's "campaign of Islamophobia" amid the outbreak of a lethal pandemic.

"The world is fighting against coronavirus. What is required is a joint coordinated effort. Unfortunately, what we're seeing is that though this virus respects no borders, it doesn't differentiate between ethnicities or religion — yet in India [...] they're in the grip of Islamophobia."

Expression of hatred against Muslims in India has become more pronounced during the pandemic. Hospitals have refused to treat Muslim patients, neighbourhoods have discussed stopping Muslims from entering them and people have been removed from jobs.

"Hate speech is being practised in India. Muslims are being discriminated against. They are not even being treated properly in hospitals," said Qureshi in the video.

"There's a campaign not to buy from their shops and businesses. Their houses were and are being attacked.

"You (the international community and OIC) saw the discriminatory approach of this Hindutva BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government. You saw that discriminatory laws were put into place. You saw NRC and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) enforced in India," Qureshi stated.

He urged the international community to "speak up", as many in the Muslim world and the Gulf countries already have, arguing that the "time has now come to take notice to stop this attack on Muslims in India".

"The OIC, foreign ministers and the international community must take notice of this. This is a violation of UN Human Rights Council resolutions and it's also a violation of many statements and positions taken by OIC," he pointed out.

'Modi's target are Muslims'

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif has also strongly condemned the treatment of Indian Muslims at the hands of the BJP government.

In a series of tweets on PML-N's Twitter account on Tuesday, Sharif said that the BJP is an extremist political party that is based on the discriminatory ideology of Hindu Nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

"Modi government wants to emulate the fascist Hitler government. Hitler's target were Jews and Modi's target are Muslims," Sharif said.

He requested the UN Security Council, OIC, the international community and global human rights organisations to step in and stop the mistreatment of Indian Muslims at the hands of Modi.

"Protection of the basic rights of Muslims are at the forefront of OIC's charter. I hope that OIC will soon constitute a strategy and take active steps to protect Muslim lives in India," he added.

Last week, the Foreign Office had said that Muslims in India were at heightened risk of social exclusion and violence after being blamed for the spread of the coronavirus.

“It is deeply disconcerting that the discriminatory and anti-Muslim policies and practices of the RSS-inspired BJP government persist even as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds. A systematic campaign is unfortunately under way to demonise Muslims, who face increased exclusion as well as the threat of mob violence,” FO spokesperson Aisha Farooqui had said during the weekly media briefing.


Additional reporting by Naveed Siddiqui