UN chief calls for tolerance in message to forum on combating anti-Muslim discrimination

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UNITED NATIONS, Jan 17 (APP): In a video message to a high-level
event on combating anti-Muslim discrimination and hatred, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed Tuesday for drawing strength from the principles of inclusion, tolerance and mutual understanding to recognize the value of diversity.
“Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people and societies
from achieving their full potential,” said Guterres, who is in Geneva attending the World Economic Forum.
The high-level event was organized by the Permanent Missions of Canada and the United States to the UN and the Delegation of the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
“In times of insecurity, vulnerable communities that look different
become convenient scapegoats,” the secretary-general added, calling on everyone to resist cynical efforts that try to divide communities and “portray neighbours as ‘the other’.”
Further, noting that anti-Muslim hate crimes, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry are on the rise, the UN chief said that many people are victims of intolerance and suspicions that may not appear in statistics, these none the less degrade people’s dignity as well as that of the common humanity.
He also underlined the need people everywhere feel for their cultural
identities to be valued and at the same time to have a strong sense
of belonging to the community as a whole, and said that as societies
become more multi-ethnic and multi-religious, cultural and economic investments in cohesion are required, so that diversity is rightly seen as a richness, not a threat.
In his message, Guterres also highlighted the Organization’s Together
campaign, an effort to promote respect, safety and dignity for all.
“Together, let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights.
Together, let us build bridges.”
“Together, let us transform fear into hope,” he said in conclusion.