New York, 15 March 2023 (TDI): United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres shared a message in which he called for a focus on eradicating anti-Muslim hatred marking the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

He underscored that discrimination diminishes everyone and the world must stand up against it. HE further stated that “Today & every day, we must counter the forces of division by reaffirming our common humanity.”

What is Islamophobia?

Islamophobia is a fear and hatred of Muslims that leads to provocation, hostility, and intolerance utilizing threatening, harassment, abuse, incitement, and intimidation of Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the real and virtual world.

Mostly, the reason behind the motivation to act violently by institutional, ideological, political, and religious hostility that transcends into structural and cultural racism, it targets the symbols and markers of being a Muslim.

Wave of hatred

In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and other acts of terrorism associated with Islam, discrimination and suspicion of Muslims have become widespread.

Governments and international bodies have adopted measures that disproportionately target Muslims, while negative representations of Islam perpetuate discrimination and hostility towards Muslims.

In states where Muslims are in the minority, they often face discrimination in accessing goods and services, finding employment, and education. Muslim women are particularly vulnerable to Islamophobic hate crimes.

Combating Islamophobia

Last year, UN General Assembly adopted a resolution sponsored by 60 Member-States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which designated 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

The document emphasizes that violent extremism and terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group.

It urges for a global dialogue to ensure peace and a culture of tolerance in society, based on respect for human rights and the diversity of religions and faith.

In response to the alarming trend of rising hate speech around the world, Secretary-General António Guterres launched the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech.