OIC Islamophobia Observatory Report May 2010 – April 2011


In the fifth year since its establishment, the OIC Observatory on Islamophobia has brought out its 4th annual report covering a particularly tumultuous period punctuated by some alarming developments. The scourge of Islamophobia continued unabated, despite all efforts to raise awareness of its dangers and the need to contain it. Rather it acquired an expansive dimension with some of the most shocking manifestations of the anti-Islam tirade. Islamophobia is already acute in Europe and in recent time it has unfolded in the US – a nation essentially premised on, and long admired as an exponent of, cultural and religious diversity. The unfortunate and outrageous episode of burning the Holy Quran was one of the most blatant examples of extremism that the international community has been consistent and unanimous in condemning since the 9/11 tragedy. Beyond the confines of electoral politics in the West, some important revelations during the reporting period suggested Islamophobia factoring as a variable in the conduct of international relations. Despite the UN resolutions reflecting international community’s loud and clear stance against conflation of any religion with terrorism, the tendency, on the part of media and motivated individuals and groups, of inflicting the psyche of over 1.5 billion Muslims by manipulating the portrayal of ‘collective guilt’ was unrelenting. The escalation in Islamophobia is indeed portentous. It accentuates the gravity of the issue and validates the OIC’s concerns with regard to adverse implications towards multicultural fabric of societies and peaceful coexistence, underwritten by interfaith harmony, as articulated in preceding reports of the Observatory as well as a host of resolutions and communiqués. Fortunately, a sustained frequency and intensity of Islamophobic incidents in this eventful year did not escape the attention of the international political and religious elite. OIC appreciates the stance taken by many Western leaders against the proponents of religious hatred and discrimination against Muslims. It was during my address to the 15th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva that I outlined a new approach towards evolving a consensus against incitement to violence and intolerance on religious ground that could plague peaceful coexistence and as such was antithetical to the very notion of a globalized world. I am glad that the eight points in the proposed approach found resonance with all the negotiating partners and formed the basis of the consensus reflected in HRC resolution 16/18. The importance of this resolution as a triumph of multilateralism must not be discounted. It could yield a considerable amount of positive energy. It would now be important to translate this potential energy into the kinetic form by taking action to implement the resolution in letter and spirit. Islamophobia remains a matter of transcendental priority for the OIC. From a futuristic perspective, events during the period covered by this report clearly establish that combating incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds must figure into the strategic calculations of the international community. Encouraged by the experience of the Observatory in the General Secretariat, OIC has proposed a similar mechanism at the international level as a first concrete step towards concerted action at both monitoring as well as combating Islamophobia, Christianophobia, Judeophobia and other manifestations intolerance, incitement to violence and discrimination on religious grounds.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
Secretary General