Greece’s Muslim Association organized the forum in cooperation with the Iranian Embassy in Athens and the Iranian Cultural Center in the city, according to the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO).
A number of Greek political and cultural figures and activists took part in the program at the Caravel Hotel.
Anna Stamou, the deputy of the Greek Muslim Association, referred to the UN move to proclaimed March 15 as ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’ and said it is an opportunity to discuss issues related to this phenomenon.
Ahmad Naderi, Iran’s Ambassador to Greece, thanked the association for organizing the event and said all of those who seek world peace support efforts to combat Islamophobia and holding the forum is also a good move in this direction.
Mehdi Nikkhah Qomi, Iran’s cultural attaché in Greece, in his address said one of the first challenges in combating Islamophobia is lack of education and awareness about Islam and the Muslim community.
He said many people have a negative view of Muslims and Islam due to lack of knowledge and information about the religion and its followers.
He added that education is a powerful means to tackle stereotypes, promote mutual understanding and combat wrong beliefs about Islam and the Muslim community.
Other speakers at the forum described Islamophobia as kind of extremist racism and stressed the need to develop interfaith dialogue in order to counter the phenomenon.
They also underlined that the Greek people have great respect for Islam and other religions and cultures.
On 15 March 2022, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus which was introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation that proclaimed March 15 as ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’. The date was chosen as it is the anniversary of the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, in which 51 Muslim worshippers were killed.