The emergence of contemporary forms of religiophobia, especially anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist and anti-Sikh phobias is a matter of serious concern, said India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti.
In a strong message to the global body, India on Tuesday (January 18) said that the United Nations must recognise the religiophobia against Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism to “bring greater balance into our discussion on such topics”.
“…new phobias, hatred or bias against other major religions of the world need to also be fully recognised. The emergence of contemporary forms of religiophobia, especially anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist and anti-Sikh phobias is a matter of serious concern and needs attention of the UN and all Member States to address this threat. It is only then can we bring greater balance into our discussion on such topics”, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti said.
He had added “Another trend which has of late become prominent is highlighting certain religious phobias. The UN has highlighted some of them over the years, namely, those based on Islamophobia, Christianophobia and antisemitism – the three Abrahamic religions. These three find mention in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.”
Ambassador Tirumurti was delivering the keynote address at International Counter Terrorism Conference by Global Counter Terrorism Council.
Addressing the United Nations Security Council High Level Open Debate on ‘Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace: Diversity, State Building and the Search for Peace’ in October last year, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan had highlighted how selective recognition of phobias was counterproductive to tackling terrorism.
Minister Muraleedharan had said, “As regards religious identities, we are witnessing how member-states are facing newer form of religious phobias. While we have condemned anti-semitism, Islamophobia and Christianophobia, we fail to recognise that there are more virulent forms of religious phobias emerging and taking roots, including anti- Hindu, anti-Buddhist and anti-Sikh phobias.”
Highlighting the fault in the very premise of recognition of some phobias and ignorance of others, the minister had said, “Our inability to even acknowledge these atrocities and phobias only gives those forces encouragement that phobias against some religions are more acceptable than those against others. If we chose to be selective about criticising such phobias or ignoring them, we do so at our own peril.”
The ambassador said that the threat of terrorism was global and it required a global response. Referring the events in the neighbouring Afghanistan, the ambassador highlighted that if right steps are not taken, it will embolden the terror groups in other parts of the world.
“…developments in Afghanistan are being closely watched in Africa by terrorist and radical groups. We need to ensure that they and other regional affiliates of ISIL and Al-Qaeda don’t get emboldened and take advantage of armed conflict situations in and around the Sahel region and Lake Chad Basin area”, the ambassador said.
India has consistently been urging the UN to recognise religiophobia against Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.
In December 2020, India’s first secretary in the permanent mission to the UN, Ashish Sharma, had said, “This august body [United Nations] fails to acknowledge the rise of hatred and violence against Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism also.”