Foreign ministers of Muslim nations will meet in Istanbul on March 22 where an emergency meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been called to discuss ways of addressing anti-Islam sentiment following the twin mosque massacres in New Zealand, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced Sunday. Qureshi told a press conference in Islamabad that Turkey holding the rotatory OIC presidency decided to summon the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting after consultations.
"The idea (behind summoning the meeting) is to devise a strategy against Islamophobia while keeping the Christchurch tragedy in mind," he said, adding that the participants will discuss the root cause of the issue. A 28-year-old immigrant-hating white nationalist, who is believed to have lived in Dunedin, killed 50 people when he opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayers.
Nine Pakistanis were among the 50 people killed in the attacks. Qureshi said that Pakistan will observe a day of mourning on Monday for victims of the New Zealand mosque attacks and flags would fly at half-mast.
He said families of six Pakistanis decided to bury the victims in Christchurch while bodies of three others will be transported back to Pakistan for burial. Qureshi said that after completing the process for identification, New Zealand officials would start handing over all bodies to the heirs on Monday.
He also paid tribute to a Pakistani man, Naeem Rashid, who died after trying to tackle the gunman, for his bravery and courage. The minister said that in recognition of Rashid's courage, he will be honoured with a national award on Pakistan Day, March 23.
(With inputs from agencies.)