Wellington: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said hate speech is spreading like wildfire in social media, stressing the need for cooperation to extinguish it.
During his visit the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch in New Zealand, attacked by terrorists about two months ago, Guterres said, "there is no room for hate speech - online or offline."
"In Christchurch for this year’s Ramadan solidarity visit, I expressed my support and admiration for the Muslim community after March’s horrific mosque attacks." the UN official noted.
Guterres stated that he usually pays a "solidarity visit" to a Muslim country during the month of Ramadan but, this year, he chose to visit the Muslim community in Christchurch, "to pay tribute to their courage, resilience, and most of all to praise the extraordinary unity the message of solidarity that was given by the people and the government of New Zealand."
"As the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, I had witnessed the generosity of Muslim countries opening their borders to people in distress in a world where so many other borders are closed," Guterres added.
"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," said Guterres, quoting the verse that calls on Muslims to give shelter to non-Muslims who seek protection.
The Secretary-General spotlighted two recent initiatives 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, 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.
Again quoting from the Holy Quran, he said "We made you into races and tribes so that you may know one another."