Islamophobia: Guterres calls for an end to hatred towards Muslim
In a message marking the International Day against Islamophobia, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for action to end the “poison of hatred” against Muslims.
“The nearly 2 billion Muslims in the world reflect humanity in all its magnificent diversity. Yet they often face bigotry and prejudice for no other reason than their religion,” Guterres said, noting that in addition to structural and institutional discrimination and the general stigmatisation of their communities, Muslims are targeted as scapegoats for personal attacks and hate speech.
He noted that the triple discrimination against Muslim women on the basis of gender, ethnicity and faith is one of the worst consequences, noting that this growing hatred is part of a resurgence of ethno-nationalism, neo-Nazi white supremacist ideologies and violence against vulnerable populations, “including Muslims, Jews, some Christian minority communities”.
To remedy this situation, the UN chief stressed the need to “strengthen our defences by promoting policies that fully respect human rights and protect religious and cultural identities”.
“We must accept that diversity is a richness and invest much more decisively, politically, culturally and economically, in social cohesion,” he said, calling for the fight against the sectarianism and hatred that is spreading like wildfire on the Internet.
Guterres also stressed that for more than a millennium, Islam’s message of peace, compassion and kindness has inspired people around the world, noting that all major religions and traditions invoke the imperatives of tolerance, respect and mutual understanding.
“These values are basically universal: they animate the UN Charter and are at the heart of our quest for justice, respect for human rights and peace,” he said on the occasion of the celebration of the day on 15 March.
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