The Malaysia Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations, Alliance of World Masjid in Defense of Islam, and Secretariat for Ulama Assembly of Asia, in a joint letter announced the launch of the campaign.
The text of the letter is as follows:
“Today, we are launching an initiative to address the issue of Islamophobia.
The aim of the campaign is to address the trend of a subtle and overt effort by certain quarters to spread and promote hate crimes and micro-aggressions against Muslims globally.
We are deeply concerned that Islam and Muslims have been targeted in certain countries leading to communal clashes and prolonged conflicts.
The prejudices towards Islam and Muslims are pervasive even by certain governments, which tend to embrace an attitude of suspicion towards Islam.
We recognize the danger of a deliberate campaign, especially by the West, to create a negative narration against Islam and Muslims.
In 2015, Islamophobia reportedly increased by 200 per cent in the United Kingdom, and anti-Muslim attacks in the United States grew by 78 per cent.
Islamophobia is defined as "unfounded hostility towards Islam". This includes "unfair discrimination against Muslim individuals and communities" and the exclusion of Muslims from political and social affairs.
Islamophobia is gaining ground. The accusation of Islam as a threat is profoundly exercised in countries that perceive Islam to be a formidable challenge to modern Western civilization.
While non-Western countries like China, Myanmar, India and Sri Lanka are entrapped by the ideology of religious non-co-existence and non-harmonious relations with Islam, extremist nationalist groups are tapping on the premise that rejecting the presence of Islam equates to safeguarding national interests.
Islamophobia and xenophobia take center stage and hate crimes against Muslims prevail.
The recognition of the Islamophobic menace is reflected in the United Nations General Assembly, which passed a resolution proclaiming March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. It was unanimously adopted by the UNGA.
We salute the effort by Pakistan, which has introduced a resolution calling for the establishment of an International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
We express deep concerns about Islamophobia, which has emerged as a new form of racism, including discriminatory travel bans, hate speech and the targeting of vulnerable Muslim girls and women for the way they dress.
The growing tensions mean that many ethnic and religious minority communities are increasingly experiencing racism in their everyday lives.
In the article, "Eight Ways Islamophobia Operates" in the "Conversation", Professor Peter Hopkins looked at how Islamophobia affected everyday life. He said: "Not only Muslims are targeted by Islamophobic racism. A diverse range of people from different ethnic and religious minorities also encounter it on a daily basis, mostly as a result of people assuming that they are Muslims.
"Sikhs, Hindus, other south Asians, those with African heritages and even some central and eastern European migrants are all lumped into one category. This can make other religious and ethnic minorities insecure in public spaces, and in their everyday encounters with others."
In 2002, an array of hate crimes was reported against Muslims across the US, including the burning of mosques, bomb threats, physical and verbal assaults, and discrimination in employment.
We fully support the need to design an effective strategy to counter with appropriate measures and policies to address Islamophobia and its negative trends.
There is an urgent need to implement a global action to counter increasing acts of violence against Muslims and Muslim communities around the world.
We take cognizance of Islamophobia's deep historical roots in the West dating back to the era of the Crusades. The Western consciousness is still infested with the image of Muslims and Islam as a threat.
Even now, some countries are embracing Islamophobia as a policy with suppressive and discriminatory legislation. The promoters of Islamophobia have even advanced into cultural and identity genocide.
Of particular concern is the rising hate campaign against Islam and Muslims in India as a consequence of an indirect inclination of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to condone the targeting of Muslims by the right-wing nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
We condemn the pervasive assaults against Muslims in India that violated human rights, international law and even the Indian constitution. Not only acts of terrorism against Muslims are blatant, Islamophobia is clearly pronounced by Hindu religious leaders in calling for attacks against Muslims.
Through the aggressive hate campaign, India has turned into the most dangerous country in which to reside for Muslims. Violence against Islam has become so pervasive that physical attacks on Muslims are happening on a daily basis.
BJP politicians recently made a blasphemous remark about the Prophet and his wife, Aishah. This was deliberate and intentional to instigate and provoke outrage among Muslims. The Islamophobia campaign in India is to scare the masses about the presence of Islam and efforts to reduce every historical mark of Islam in India are becoming more aggressive.
The growing Muslim presence in the world has been perceived as a danger and under the pretext of freedom of speech and allegations of Islamic extremism, Muslims are targeted by the governments and the media too.
We call on all Muslim leaders at every level (politicians, intellectuals and scholars, professionals and journalists) to combat this long-standing fear and contempt. This is a global challenge and needs a global movement to address it.
We call for the government of Malaysia to seriously look into the Islamophobic trend that is fuelling negative prejudices and perceptions towards Islam.
Malaysia should join hands with Pakistan in combating the prevailing false and provocative statements against Islam. With the numerous Islamic agencies in Malaysia, we call for a coordinated and collective effort to deal with misinformation and misunderstanding of Islam.
We will organize high-impact campaigns by mobilizing non-governmental organizations, scholars, media and governmental agencies to reach out to the masses in correcting the Islamophobic influences.
Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid
President, Malaysia Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations
Datuk Seri Ahmad Awang
Chair, Alliance of World Masjid in Defense of Islam
Datuk Wira Abdul Ghani Samsudin
Chair, Secretariat for Ulama Assembly of Asia