Top UN official highlights Islam’s peace message at Pakistan’s Eid party at UN HQ

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UNITED NATIONS, June 28 (APP): Underscoring Islam’s message of
peace, a top UN official vowed to overcome the ongoing extremism,
hatred, violence and conflict in some parts of the the world
by working together.
Speaking at a largely-attended Eid-ul-Fitr reception hosted by
Pakistani Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi at United Nations Headquarters
in New York, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed deplored
the biased media portrayal of Islam in some countries, saying Muslims
are in fact the main victims of conflicts around the world.
The Islamic values of compassion, charity and purity of spirit
were universal values that bind the whole human family and were
also the basis of the U.N. Charter, Ms. Mohammed said.
“They are values that we hold dear and try to practice not
only during Ramadan, but every day of our lives,” she told
ambassadors, senior diplomats, U.N. officials, members of of
the Pakistani community and representatives of international news
media attending the reception.
Ambassador Lodhi, who welcomed the guests, said that the
month of Ramadan is a time for prayers, abstinence and reflection
when Muslims re-affirm their duty to each other and to those who
are less fortunate.
It is the first time that the Pakistan Mission held the
‘Eid Milan’ party in the U.N. building where the President of
the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, was the chief guest.
At the request of Ambassador Lodhi, the guests observed
a one-minute silence in remembrance of those who lost their
lives in the recent tragedies in Pakistan.
Thomson, who hails from Fiji, wished “Eid Mubarak” to
the distinguished guests and then delighted the Pakistanis
among them when he hailed Pakistan’s victory in the ICC
cricket championship at the Oval.
“Congratulations Pakistan! World champions!!” he said, as
loud applause rang out.
The Pakistani envoy welcomed the guests in the space reserved
for the reception that was adorned by portraits of the Quaid-e-Azam
and Allama Iqbal as well as a reminder that Pakistan is candidate
for a seat on the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.
Ms. Mohammed, the deputy secretary-general, used the occasion
to highlight Islamic values and to voice her disappointment at
the negative portrayal of Islam.
“It is particularly painful to all of us when the name of our
beloved religion is misused in ways that are direct anti-thesis
of the values we cherish,” she said. “We see this happening every
day, in conflict zones in the Middle East, in Africa including
my own country, Nigeria; in Europe, in the United States, and
all over the world. But we will never allow those who commit
crimes in the name of Islam, to distract us from our dedication
to our faith and to the well-being of our fellow men and women.
“This has been a difficult Ramadan. Hundreds of lives– mainly
Muslims — have been lost in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Nigeria, in
the UK and elsewhere, As Muslims, we feel these losses very
personally and painfully. Many of us may wonder how we reached
this point.”
Ms. Mohammed added, “Muslims are the main victims of the
violent conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and the Lake Chad
Basin. But those who flee war, have lost family, friends and
homes, may face discrimination and even abuse when they arrive
in what they hoped were places of safety. They may be mistakenly
identified with the violence and hared if those who drove
them away,”
She emphasized that the response to this double tragedy must
be that of peace and doing no harm.
“Our message, the message of the United Nations, is that we
will overcome extremism, hared, violence and conflict by working
together, by showing compassion and generosity to each other,
and and by nurturing and cherishing the true spirit and values
of Islam.”
Traditional Pakistani dishes were served and the country’s
popular songs were played. Female diplomats availed of the
Henna that was being applied by Pakistani interns and were
thrilled to receive traditional bangles that are so popular at
Eid in Pakistan.