Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said the reason behind the Kaula Lampur Summit in December was to address the issue of Islamophobia which has grown in the world.
The prime minister made these remarks while speaking at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia on Tuesday.
He said the Iranian Revolution, Salman Rushdie publishing his controversial book “The Satanic Verses” in 1989 and 9/11 helped fan the flames of Islamophobia.
“In 1989, Salman Rushdie wrote a book which was a watershed. The people in the west could not understand the reaction of the Muslims why they were reacting the way they were. I consider this to be the Muslim leadership’s biggest failure,” PM Imran said.
Citing an example of his time while playing cricket in England, the prime minister said there were comedy programmes on television about religion which depicted Islam in a certain way.
“We failed and then the idea came that Islam is an intolerant religion,” PM Imran said. “And then came 9/11 which was a terrorist act and that was where the western leaders started calling it Islamic terrorism and we should have objected to that. There was no connection between the two.”
“The worst thing to happen to Muslims was the failure to de-link Islam with terrorism following 9/11. Worse yet was that Muslim leaders started to adopt and echo Western narratives about “radical Islam” and “moderate Islam,” he added.
“That is why, when I spoke to PM Mahathir Mohamad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York, we came up with the idea for a TV channel,” the prime minister said. “The idea is to educate our young people about Islam. Today our children have access to phones and information that wasn’t there before.”
“We need to give our children an alternative point of view because the world is moving in that direction and it is very important we develop that narrative and give them an idea what the real Islam is,” the prime minister remarked.
‘My vision for Pakistan same as that of founding fathers’
Speaking about his vision for the country, the prime minister said his vision is the same as that of the founding fathers of the countries, Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
“Their vision for Pakistan was that it should be based on the state of Medina which was established by our prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). The state of Medina was based on two principles, i.e. justice and compassion.”
He continued, “These were the bases for the state of Medina. It became the first welfare state; it was such a state where the rule of law was everything. Even the head of the state was under the rule of law.”
“No one was above the law and every citizen regardless of their ethnicity, caste or religion was equal in the eyes of the state,” he said.
“Pakistan was meant to emulate State of Medina but we lost our way, we went far away from the idea,” PM Imran said, adding that the nations without a vision would eventually die.
“Even though the country is passing through the worse economic time we are working towards establishing Pakistan as welfare state. We have given six million families health insurance, we have started shelter homes for people on the streets and have set up nearly 200 shelters with a plan to expand more,” the prime minister said.
The prime minister also spoke about the Ehsaas Programme, which will give people a chance for a better life. “This is just the beginning, as time passes, the government will focus on how to get more people out of poverty.”
“Close the gap between rich and poor. This is the society we want in Pakistan,” he said.
“There is a certain section in teh country which feels it sits above the law. There are cartels which feel they are above it. The fight with the political mafias is what is keeping Pakistan back,” he said.
‘Mahathir Mohamad has changed the destiny of many’
Speaking about his Malaysian counterpart, PM Imran said, “It is always a pleasure to meet our role model, Mahathir Mohamad — a statesman that has changed the destiny of so many people.”
“We have seen how Malaysia transformed and developed under Mahathir Mohammad.”
“But what I also like about Malaysia is its harmony. Not only between religions, but also among the various races. If we look at the golden age of Islam, religion was never brought about through force. In this sense, Malaysia needs to be admired,” PM Imran added.