Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan used his address at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday to decry “Islamophobia” faced by Muslims worldwide, a trend he said was exacerbated by the 9/11 attacks.
During his 50-minute speech, Khan declared that Islamophobia, a term used to describe a supposed fear or dislike of Muslims, was growing at an “alarming” rate and was consequently “dividing the world.”
“The human community lives together; there should be an understanding. But Islamophobia is dividing the world. Muslim women have been asked to take off their hijab in other countries. A woman can take off her clothes in other countries but cannot put on Hijab,” he said.
Khan also argued that it was wrong to ever equate Islam with terrorism, declaring that any form of “radical Islam” does not exist. “Why? Because certain leaders have equated Islam with terrorism,” he explained. “There is no radical Islam. There is only one Islam. What message do they send to the world?”
The former cricketer, who was elected prime minister in last year’s general election after successfully courting the country’s hardline Islamist vote, went on to berate Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his annexation of parts of the disputed region of Kashmir, comparing him to some of the 20th century’s worst fascist dictators.
“PM Modi’s whole life is Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which is inspired by Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini,” he said. “RSS believes in the ethnic cleansing of Muslims. RSS goons butchered hundreds of Muslims. This is arrogance. This makes people do cruel things. Something PM Modi has done. Arrogance has blinded PM Modi.”
Speaking directly on the subject of Kashmir, which is currently under a curfew enforced by the Indian military, Khan warned of a forthcoming bloodbath against Kashmiris protesting that would lead to further radicalization of Muslims in India and across the region.
“Has PM Modi thought what would happen when the curfew in Kashmir is lifted? Do you think people in Kashmir would accept that you have withdrawn the special status?” he asked. “Thousands of children in Kashmir have been put under detention. They, too, will come out on the streets after the curfew in the state is lifted and the Army will shoot them.”
Today also we hear about pellet guns being used by the Indian Army. But whatever happens in Kashmir after the curfew is lifted, there will be another terror attack like Pulwama, and Pakistan will be blamed.
There are millions of Muslims in India. PM Modi, do you know what they must be thinking. If there’s a bloodbath, Muslims will become radicals. You are forcing Muslims into radicalization. They will pick up arms.
Khan concluded comparing the current moment in Kashmir to 1939, when Europe appeased Hitler by granting him control of conquered parts of Europe. He urged the United Nations not to choose appeasement again.
Khan is currently on a week-long visit to the United States, where he has held meetings with President Donald Trump, Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani, Turkish strongman Reccip Erdogan, and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, all to discuss topics ranging from worldwide Islamaphobia to the crisis in Kashmir.