Pakistan's Khan calls for collective Muslim action against Islamophobia

Islamabad (AFP) –


Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday wrote to the leaders of Muslim countries calling on them to act together against Islamophobia, as anger grows over France’s defence of the right to mock religion.

Muslims across the world have reacted furiously to French President Emmanuel Macron's defence of free speech after a French school teacher who had shown his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed was killed.

Khan accused European countries of ridiculing the prophet, allowing discrimination against Muslims and refusing to let Muslim women wear conservative clothing.

"The recent statements at the leadership level and incidents of desecration of the Holy Koran are a reflection of the increase in Islamophobia that is spreading in European countries," the letter said, days after Khan accused Macron of attacking Islam.

In a speech in Lahore on Wednesday, Khan added that the lives of Muslims have been made difficult in France, and Western countries should consider the sensitivities of devotees.

Caricatures of Mohammed are forbidden by Islam and blasphemy is an explosive issue in ultra-conservative Pakistan, where anyone deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures can face the death penalty.

Macron's comments have triggered protests and a call to boycott French goods in some Muslim-majority countries.

Small and scattered protests have taken place across Pakistan this week, including in the port city of Karachi on Wednesday.

Khan's office earlier wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking the social media giant to take down Islamophobic content.