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Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday urged Muslim leaders to collectively raise their voice and break the cycle of hate and extremism between the Muslim and Western world “that nurtures violence”.

“We, as leaders of Muslim polities, must take the initiative to call for an end to this cycle of hate and violence,” he wrote, in a letter shared on Twitter.

He called upon Muslim leaders to explain to non-Muslim leaders — especially in Western states — the “deep-seated reverence and love all Muslims feel for the Holy Quran and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)”.

PM Imran Khan said that the world is seeing a “growing concern and restlessness” among the Muslim Ummah due to the increase in “Islamophobia and attacks, through ridicule and mockery” of Prophet (PBUH) in the Western world, especially Europe.

“The recent statements at the leadership level and incidents of desecration of the Holy Quran are a reflection of this increasing Islamophobia that is spreading in European countries where sizeable Muslim populations reside,” said PM Imran, in the letter.

The prime minister told Muslim leaders that apart from statements being issued, mosques were being closed in Europe. He also highlighted that “Muslim women are being denied their right to wear clothing of their choice” in the public despite nuns and priests continuing to display their religious clothing.

He said that “covert and overt discrimination is widespread against Muslims” living in such countries.

“I believe the leadership in these countries, often acts out of lack of understanding of the intrinsic deep passion, love and devotion Muslims all over the world have for their Prophet (PBUH) and their divine book the Holy Quran,” said PM Imran Khan.

‘Dangerous cycle’

According to the prime minister, such actions lead to a “dangerous cycle of actions and reactions” that in turn leads to reactions from Muslims “as they see their faith and their beloved Prophet targeted”.

He added that it also leads to “further discriminatory actions by governments” against Muslim populations of those states which then leads to “marginalisation of Muslims and the creating of space for radical, far-right groups to exploit the situation”.

“On the other side, the resulting marginalisation leads to radicalisation and this vicious cycle continues to create increasing space for extremists on all sides,” said the prime minister.

Collectively taking the lead in breaking the cycle

PM Imran Khan said that in such a situation, it is “incumbent” on leaders of the Muslim world to “collectively take the lead in breaking this cycle of hate and extremism, which nurtures violence and even death”.

“It is time to reach out to ‘the other’ [side] and end cycles of violence bred of ignorance and hate,” said PM Imran. He added that Muslim leaders needed to explain to the Western world that “value systems differ for different social and religious and ethnic groups”.

PM Imran Khan cited the example of the Jews and the holocaust which he said that Muslim countries understand and respect.

“There has to be an understanding by the Western world of giving a similar respect to Muslims, who have also seen their people killed in mass numbers, from Bosnia to Iraq to Afghanistan, to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, but for whom the pain and hurt is greatest when we see attacks on our faith and our beloved Prophet PBUH through mockery, ridicule and even abuse. In fact, blasphemy against any Prophet of Islam, Christianity or Judaism is unacceptable in our faith,” he wrote.

The Pakistani leader said that the time has come for Muslim leaders to “take this message with clarity and unity to the rest of the world” and that this was needed so there could be an “end to Islamophobia and attacks on Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)”.

“The world cannot continue on this hate spiral, which only benefits extremists agendas on all sides and results in polarised societies and violence,” said PM Imran. He added that the Islamic faith is guided by “peace and tolerance as practiced in Riyasat-i-Madina and in accordance with Misaq-i-Madina (the Treaty concluded by our Prophet PBUH between Muslims and Jews)”.

“It is our responsibility to inform the world of this spirit and core of our faith Islam,” he concluded by saying.

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