Prime Minister Imran Khan has written letters to heads Muslim states urging them to "act collectively" and counter the growth of Islamophobia in non-Muslim countries, especially in European nations.
Anger has grown in the Muslim world over remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron in a row over blasphemous cartoons. The dispute has its roots in a knife attack outside a French school on Oct. 16 in which a man of Chechen origin beheaded Samuel Paty, a teacher who had shown pupils the cartoons in a civics lesson on freedom of speech.
France has allowed displays of the cartoons. Macron paid tribute to Paty, describing him as a “quiet hero” dedicated to instilling the democratic values of the French Republic in his pupils.
"Today, we are confronting a growing concern and restlessness amongst our Ummah as they see the rising tide of Islamophobia and attacks, through ridicule and mockery on our beloved Prophet (PBUH) in the Western world, especially Europe. The recent statements at the leadership level and incidents of desecration of the Holy Quran are a reflection of this increasing Islamophobia that is spreading in European countries where sizeable Muslim populations reside," said the premier in his letter.
He further said that in Europe, mosques are being closed, Muslim women are being denied their right to wear clothing of their choice and covert and overt discrimination against Muslim populations is widespread.
"I believe the leadership in these countries, often acts out of lack of understanding of the intrinsic deep passion, love and devotion Muslims all over the world have for their Prophet (PBUH) and their divine book the Holy Quran."
The prime minister said a dangerous cycle of "actions and reactions" has been set in motion, with Muslims reacting to "hurtful actions" against their faith, resulting in further "discriminatory actions by governments against Muslim populations in their states, resulting in the marginalization of Muslims and the creating of space for radical, far-right groups to exploit the situation".
Imran elaborated that such marginalization leads to "radicalization and this vicious cycle continues to create increasing space for extremists on all sides".
Urging Muslim leaders to take the lead in "breaking this cycle of hate and extremism", the premier said leaders of Muslim states must take the initiative to call for an end to this cycle of hate and violence.
He further asked other Muslim leaders to collectively raise their voice and explain to leaders of European states that Muslims hold their faith in "deep-seated reverence and love".
"We must explain to the Western world that value systems differ for different social and religious and ethnic groups in the world. For Europeans and the Jews the Holocaust, which was the culmination of the Nazi pogrom, has led to many Western, especially European states, to criminalizing any act of criticism or questioning of the Holocaust. We understand and respect that. However, there has to be an understanding by the Western world of giving a similar respect to Muslims, who have also seen their people killed in mass numbers from Bosnia to Iraq to Afghanistan, to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir."
Imran said the pain is the greatest when Muslims see attacks on their faith through "mockery, ridicule and even abuse".
"The time has come for the leaders of the Muslim world to take this message with clarity and unity to the rest of the world, especially the Western world so an end is put to Islamophobia and attacks on Islam and our Prophet PBUH."