International Day to Combat Islamophobia
13 March 2023
Message of UN Secretary-General António Guterres
On this International Day to Combat Islamophobia, we focus attention -- and call for action -- to stamp out the poison of anti-Muslim hatred.
The world’s nearly 2 billion Muslims reflect humanity in all its magnificent diversity. But they often face bigotry and prejudice for no other reason than their faith. Beyond structural, institutional discrimination and the wholesale stigmatization of Muslim communities, Muslims suffer personal attacks, hateful rhetoric, and scapegoating.
We see some of the worst impacts in the triple discrimination against Muslim women because of their gender, ethnicity, and faith. The growing hate that Muslims face is not an isolated development: it is part of the resurgence of ethno-nationalism, neo-Nazi white supremacist ideologies, and violence targeting vulnerable populations including Muslims, Jews, some minority Christian communities and others.
Discrimination diminishes us all. And it is incumbent on all of us to stand up against it. We must strengthen our defences by pushing for policies that fully respect human rights and protect religious and cultural identities. We must recognize diversity as richness and ramp up political, cultural, and economic investments in social cohesion. And we must confront bigotry by working to tackle the hate that spreads like wildfire across the internet.
For well over a millennium, Islam’s message of peace, compassion, and grace has inspired people the world over. Every great faith and tradition summon the imperatives of tolerance, respect, and mutual understanding. At the heart, we are dealing with universal values: they animate the Charter of the United Nations and lie at the core of our quest for justice, human rights, and peace.
Today and every day, let us strive to realize these values and counter the forces of division by reaffirming our common humanity.