NEW YORK: Malaysia and Turkiye have expressed deep concern about the increasing hatred and acts of violence against Muslims and their sanctities, that have reached an alarming level in many parts of the world, especially Europe.

In a joint statement, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan underlined the emergence of a new form of racism characterised by xenophobia, negative profiling and stereotyping of Muslims.

Both leaders condemned in the strongest terms the recent incidents of the burning of copies of the Holy Quran in several European countries based on the argument of freedom of expression as well as a discourse that incites abuse, hate speech and aggression against Islam and Muslims.

They both welcomed the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 76/254 to declare March 15 as “International Day to Combat Islamophobia”, which stresses that terrorism and violent extremism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group.

“We also welcome the urgent debate at the 53rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to discuss the alarming rise in premeditated and public acts of religious hatred as manifested by the recurrent desecration of the Holy Quran, and the adoption of HRC resolutions defining the burning of holy books as religious hatred,” the statement read.

Both leaders are in New York to attend the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly and held a bilateral meeting at the Turkish House yesterday.

Anwar said Turkiye will implement the strategies at activity locations in Europe and the Middle East and Malaysia will do so in Asia. “A series of conferences were organised before this and they will continue (to be held). Further discussions on efforts against Islamophobia will continue to be pursued during Erdogan’s visit to Malaysia in December,” he said.

Anwar said in addition to conferences and explanatory sessions, efforts to address prejudice and extreme attitudes towards Islam in the global community through publications would be done, and one of the ways is by publishing 100,000 copies of the Quran in various languages.

“This includes 15,000 copies translated into Swedish, which have been sent to that country. Copies of the Quran have also been distributed in Australia and the United States as well as learning centres, universities and mosques,” he said.

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