17 January 2017

Together, ‘Let Us Transform Fear into Hope’, Secretary-General Says in Message to Event on Combating Anti-Muslim Discrimination

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the high-level event on combating anti-Muslim discrimination and hatred, in New York today:

I thank all of you for coming together to take on the challenge of anti-Muslim discrimination and hatred.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes and other forms of bigotry are on the rise.  The same applies to xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism.  In addition, many people are victims of intolerance and suspicions that may not appear in statistics — but degrade people’s dignity and our common humanity.

In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats.  We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbours as “the other”.

Discrimination diminishes us all.  It prevents people — and societies — from achieving their full potential.

Let us draw strength from the values of inclusion, tolerance and mutual understanding that are at the heart of all major faiths and the United Nations Charter.

As the Holy Quran states:  nations and tribes were created to know one another.  People everywhere need to feel that their cultural identities are valued — and at the same time to have a strong sense of belonging to the community as a whole.

As societies become ever more multi-ethnic and multireligious, we need political, cultural and economic investments in cohesion, so that diversity is rightly seen as a richness, not a threat.

The United Nations is launching an effort to promote respect, safety and dignity for all.  We call it the Together campaign.  Together, let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights.  Together, let us build bridges.  Together, let us transform fear into hope.  For our Muslim brothers and sisters — and for all humanity.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.