UN chief focuses on Islamic values at big Eid reception hosted by Pakistan and 6 other Muslim nations

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APP08-23 NEW YORK: June 23 – Pakistan’s Ambassador to UN, Maleeha Lodhi speaking at the Eid celebration at the UN organized by Pakistan Mission where UN Secretary General, António Guterres was the Chief guest and female Ambassadors of Albania, Jorden, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Qatar and Turkmenistan, co-sponsored the event at the UN Headquarters. APP

UNITED NATIONS, June 23 (APP): United Nations Secretary-General Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted Islam’s values of tolerance, respect and openness at a glittering Eid-ul-Fitre reception hosted by Pakistan, with the sponsorship of six other Muslim countries, at UN headquarters in New York on Friday.
“Islam emphasizes the importance of sharing knowledge, nurturing dialogue, promoting social justice and peace,” he told a large gathering of ambassadors, senior diplomats, U.N. officials, community members and representatives of international news media.
In doing so, Guterres denounced xenophobia and Islamophobia sweeping some parts of the world and said that the “truth is that we are all people of book, sharing common heritage.”
The UN chief spoke after an address of welcome Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi delivered on behalf the co-sponsoring permanent missions of Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Albania and Kyrgyzstan in which she called for working together for a world that is free from want, from bigotry and exclusion and from violence and extremism.
Among the distinguished guests was UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.
The reception, held at the initiative of Ambassador Lodhi, was the first of its kind at the United Nations.
“This collective celebration organized by the female ambassadors from Muslim countries is aimed not just at sharing this joyous occasion with our colleagues in the international community here but also reinforcing the message of peace and solidarity that this important occasion represents in the Muslim calendar,” the Pakistani envoy said.
“This is all the more essential at a time when the world is confronted with so much conflict, violence and suffering and when every two seconds someone, somewhere has to flee from their home to escape war, persecution or poverty.”
Ambassador Lodhi said Islamic values of compassion, sharing and solidarity were in fact universal values and were reflected in the UN charter and inspire people around the world to work together to build a better, more peaceful and fairer world.
“It is not just in Ramadan that we strive to practice these values but in every day of our lives,” she added.
Guterres began his remarks with “Eid Mubarak” as a loud applause rang out.
“Ramadan is a time of reflection, remembrance and renewal; it is a period to reaffirm core values such as solidarity, compassion and goodwill,” the secretary-general said.
As UN High Commissioner for Refugees, he said he began a practice of visiting a Muslim country during Ramadan and fasting in solidarity with people. Last year, he did so in Afghanistan, and this year in Mali.
“One of the most beautiful references to refugee protection can be found in the Holy Quran and the Hadiths of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) that protection shall be given to believers and non- believers. “It is a demonstration of tolerance, respect and openness that is the true face of Islam.”
Gueterres said he learned from a recent book of a noted Catholic scholar about the distinctions in the story of Adam and Eve.
“We are being hosted tonight by so many ambassadors from Muslim countries, who also happen to be women, ” he noted.
“In the Old Testament, Adam is created from the earth, but Eve is made from Adam’s rib – in other words, a lesser creation.
In the Holy Quran, Eve is not made from Adam. Adam and Eve are both made from the same dust – reinforcing that all humans come from one point of origin and that we are all equally daughters and sons of God.”
The secretary-general then cut a cake as part of the celebration as Pakistan’s star singer Zeb Bangash entertained the gathering with some of her hit songs in Farsi , Darri , Turkish and Urdu to the delight of guests.
Traditional dishes of the seven countries were served, with Pakistani cuisine section overcrowded with visitors.
At one point, the secretary-general, while looking at food, said he must have a Pakistani kabab. Ambassador Lodhi immediately served him.
Female diplomats and other guests were thrilled to receive traditional bangles and perfumes that are so popular at Eid in Pakistan.