Countering Islamophobia 'top priority', says UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Countering Islamophobia 'top priority', says UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

United Nations (Agencies): United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that countering anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia is his 'top priority'.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states, the UN chief said that he fully agrees with the assessment that it could pose a threat to international peace and security.

The UN Chief was responding to the comments from Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, who drew his attention to the rising cases of anti-Muslim violence and Islamophobia in India, the Radio Pakistan reported.

While voicing his concern over the rise of Islamophobia, the UN Secretary-General called for fighting this phenomenon collectively.

In his remarks, Ambassador Akram raised concerns about the alarming rise in Islamophobia and stigmatization of Muslims in India in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

He also highlighted the oppressive measures imposed in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, 2019 when New Delhi annexed the disputed region in violation of UN resolutions.

While terming these developments a matter of “grave concern”, Ambassador Akram noted that such vitriolic hate speech, state-sponsored Islamophobia and deliberate targeting of Muslims in India was not only a human rights challenge but could also endangered peace and security in the region.