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Iranian, Pakistani FMs speak out against Islamophobia in France

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The combo photo shows Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Iran and Pakistan have condemned the spread of Islamophobia in France, urging Muslim countries to act decisively to counter any move against Islam and violation of its sanctities.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held a phone call on Friday following a decision by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish cartoons of Iran’s top religious authority.

During the phone conversation, Amir-Abdollahian criticized the Israel lobby for spreading Islamophobia around the world, but added that nothing annuls the responsibility of the French government vis-à-vis such incidents.

“Muslim countries should not allow certain Western countries to insult the sanctities and spread hatred in the name of freedom [of speech],” he said.

For his part, Zardari said the French magazine has a dark record of insulting Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) as well as religious figures and values and expressed Islamabad’s readiness to cooperate with Muslim countries and the OIC to counter any move to spread Islamophobia.

The French magazine is set to publish several insulting cartoons of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in a special edition later this week. The controversial right-wing magazine had in early December announced a competition for such cartoons.

In a statement on Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Tehran holds the French government responsible for an “anti-cultural and anti-human move” by the notorious French weekly to publish insulting caricatures of the country’s top politico-religious authority, announcing a decision to revise cultural relations with Paris in response.

Amir-Abdollahian and Zardari also denounced the Israeli regime’s aggressive measures, particularly its provocative actions against al-Aqsa Mosque.

The silence of countries in the face of injustice in occupied Palestine must come to an end, the Pakistani foreign minister asserted.

On Tuesday, far-right Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir entered the holy site of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City through the Moroccan Gate, also known as the Mughrabi Gate, in what was described by Palestinians as an “unprecedented provocation.”

In a telephone conversation on Thursday with Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Hussein Ibrahim Taha, the Iranian foreign minister warned that the occupying Israeli entity will face “heavy consequences” for incursion into the holy site.

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