FILE - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to reporters during a news conference, in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, March.1, 2023. AP
The world's nearly 2 billion Muslims reflect humanity in all its magnificent diversity. But they often face bigotry and prejudice due to their faith, Guterres said in a message for the International Day, which falls on March 15.
He stressed that Muslims suffer personal attacks, hateful rhetoric and scapegoating. He added that growing anti-Muslim sentiment is part of the resurgence of ethnonationalism, 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," Guterres said. "We must push for policies that fully respect human rights and protect religious and cultural identities."
He also called for political, cultural and economic investments in social cohesion and recognition of diversity to confront bigotry.
The UN chief said every great faith and tradition summons the imperatives of tolerance, respect and mutual understanding. He called on people to counter the forces of division by reaffirming our shared humanity.