In Christchurch, UN chief calls for tolerance, solidarity to extinguish ‘wildfire’ of hate speech

UN Photo/Mark Garten The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, lays a wreath at one of two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where worshipers were shot dead in March 2019. (May 2019)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


On a three-day visit to New Zealand, UN Secretary-General António Guterres paid his respects to the victims of the horrific mosque attacks in Christchurch, where dozens of Muslims were gunned down in two separate incidents during Friday prayers on 15 March.

Calling for solidarity to  counter the recent upsurge in hate speech, the UN chief visited both Linwood Mosque, where he laid a wreath, and Al Noor mosque. On 15 March, a lone gunman killed 51 people at the two places of worship while livestreaming the attacks on social media.

At Al Noor mosque on Tuesday, Mr. Guterres told the Muslim community that while there were no words to relieve the hurt and sorrow and pain, “I wanted to come here personally to transmit love, support and total and complete admiration.”

He said that like so many around the world, he had been moved by the poignant stories of compassion and grace from Christchurch.

“But in many ways, I was not surprised. This community reflected a spirit that I have always known to be deeply embedded in Islam – a faith of love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy,” he said.

He recalled that as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, he had seen witness the generosity of Muslim countries opening their borders to people in distress in a world where so many other borders are closed.

“This is in line with what I regard as the most beautiful prescription for refugee protection in world history. It is found in the Surah Al-Tawbah of the Holy Quran: ‘And if anyone seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he can hear the words of Allah. Then escort him where he can be secure,’” quoted Mr. Guterres.

He also recalled that during a visit to Cairo last month, he had been honoured to meet the Grand Imam, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, and had thanked him for his recent interfaith meeting with Pope Francis in the United Arab Emirates. The declaration signed by the two leaders calls on people of faith to recognize and respect one another and work together for the good of humanity.

“We must stand together in this period of difficulties,” said the UN chief, adding that: “Hate speech is spreading and public discourse is being coarsened. Social media is being exploited as a platform for bigotry. We must all show solidarity in response to this dangerous upsurge in hatred.”

There is no room for hate speech

The Secretary-General spotlighted two recent initiatives he has set in motion two initiatives, respectively to protect holy sites and to address hate speech.

He has asked the High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations, Miguel Moratinos, to develop an Action Plan for the UN to be fully engaged in support of safeguarding religious sites.

Meanwhile, Mr. Guterres has also asked his Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, to bring together a UN team to scale up our response to hate speech and present a global plan of action.

“Hate speech is spreading like wildfire in social media. We must extinguish it,” said the Secretary-General, declaring: “There is no room for hate speech – online or offline.”

Again quoting the Holy Quran, he said: ‘We … made you into races and tribes so that you may know one another.’

Thanking the Christchurch Muslim community “for doing what you’re doing to help us better know each other – and see our shared humanity,” Mr. Guterres said: “In these trying times, I am here to say with a full heart: You are not alone. The world is with you. The United Nations is with you. I am with you.”

The Secretary-General’s visit to New Zealand is part of a tour of the Pacific Island States in which the urgent issue of climate change figures strongly. On Wednesday, he will address the Pacific Islands Form, being held this year in Fiji, before moving on to stops in Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Mr. Guterres is convening a major UN Climate Summit to be held at UN Headquarters in New York in September.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Utmost hypocrisy emitted by EU’s energy regulation

Non-performing loans: banks need to mitigate the risk of potential losses

EU-UK future relations: “level playing field” crucial to ensure fair competition

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

On World Health Day, new report says the world needs 6 million more nurses

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on a possible new competition tool

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

MEPs want to ensure sufficient funding for Connecting Europe’s future

IMF: The near-term outlook for the U.S. economy is one of strong growth and job creation

Pharmaceuticals conceal drug side effects with the EU’s Court blessing

Madrid is banning high-polluting vehicles from the city centre

Commission makes it easier for citizens to access health data securely across borders

It’s time we harnessed Big Data for good

Resisting EU budget cuts

EU Parliament: Follow the fraudulent money and confiscate it

Balancing economic growth and the environment: lessons from Brazil

EU to host international donors’ conference for Albania to help with reconstruction after earthquake

UN chief ‘alarmed’ by violations of UN-backed ceasefire in Libya

OECD sees global growth slowing, as Europe weakens and risks persist

Coronavirus: Team Europe continues to deliver with more than €26 billion disbursed in support to partner countries in one year

MI6 chief calls for espionage 4.0 in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Madagascar: UN chief commends nation on first round of peaceful elections

Religious violence is on the rise. What can faith-based communities do about it?

COVID-19 pandemic: The war inside our heads

Oh, well, you are wrong, Google responds to the European Commission

EU-Turkey deal on migrants kicked off but to who’s interest?

Four ways we can fix economics in 2019

How COVID-19 shows the urgent need to address the cyber poverty gap

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Transport Industry Drive for Improved Energy Efficiency and Electro-Mobility to Stem High Growth of Emissions

These are the world’s best universities

EU Summit: Why was Poland isolated in opposing Tusk and the ‘multi speed’ Europe

Here’s how we make the internet safer for children

This start-up is making a palm oil alternative from used coffee grounds

COVID-19: Member states need to harmonise health assessments and measures

Violence against women a barrier to peaceful future for all

Public climate finance to developing countries is rising

How the technology behind deepfakes can benefit all of society

Four million Syrian children have only known war since birth: UNICEF

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

Migration crisis update: The “Habsburg Empire” comes back to life while EU loses control

‘Act fast and do whatever it takes’ to fight the COVID-19 crisis, say leading economists

Germany caught with selfish double standards in euro area policy

Drought in Europe: Commission presents additional measures to support farmers

Europe united in not supporting a US attack on Syria

The Unspoken COVID-19 Vaccine Challenges — Distribution and Corruption

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

Fighting Terrorism Online: EU Internet Forum committed to an EU-wide Crisis Protocol

NATO summit, Brussels, 11-12/07/2018

A day in the life of a Rohingya refugee

The US calls off globalization, targets Germany. Paris offer to Berlin comes at a cost

Lockdown is the world’s biggest psychological experiment – and we will pay the price

UN launches drive to highlight environmental cost of staying fashionable

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths: Lockdown by a novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV

What lessons to draw from the destruction of Syria

How the world’s best teacher is changing lives in Africa

Financial abuse of elderly ‘rampant, but invisible’, says UN expert

Migrant caravan: UN agency helping ‘exhausted’ people home

UN official sees ‘unprecedented opportunities’ to make progress on peace in Afghanistan

Cyclone Idai: UNICEF warns of ‘race against time’ to protect children, prevent spread of disease in flood-ravaged Mozambique

Global leaders and companies pledge to reduce the gender pay gap by 2030

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s