The world’s top diplomat for Islam called on Friday for an end to what he termed efforts to equate the religion with terrorism and said the ‘demonization’ of Muslims around the world must be fought.
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But speaking soon after the U.N. General Assembly passed an Islamic-sponsored resolution condemning “defamation of religion” for the fourth year in a row, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said his group was committed to respecting freedom of expression.
There was a “rising tide of incitement to religious hatred and discrimination and intolerance targeting Muslims,” he told a meeting called by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) at the United Nations in Geneva. The 57-nation OIC, based in Saudi Arabia, represents 1.5 billion Muslims.
“Attempts to equate Islam with terrorism should be stopped. Stereotyping and demonization of Muslims should be combated,” said Ihsanoglu, a Turkish history professor who became OIC Secretary-General in 2005.