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18 Apr, 2015

UN to hold high-level interfaith meeting to promote tolerance, counter extremism

UNITED NATIONS, April 16 (Xinhua) — Top UN officials are scheduled to convene a high-level interfaith meeting next week in order to promote tolerance and fight violent extremism, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced here Thursday.

On April 21-22, President of the 69th session of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser will convene a high-level thematic debate on promoting tolerance and reconciliation, Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.

“The two-day meeting, which will take place at UN headquarters, will offer a platform for member states and faith leaders from around the world, along with other stakeholders, to discuss means of promoting tolerance and reconciliation, as well as to address challenges of countering radicalization and extremism,” he said.

At a special event in early February, which marked World Interfaith Week, the General Assembly president highlighted the importance of dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people.

The president said that the message of peace and goodwill was as important as ever in light of the recent disturbing rise of intolerance and prejudice in many of our communities.

“As intolerance, bigotry and hatred continue to fuel conflicts, violence and extremism in many corners of the world, we need to strengthen our efforts to foster respect and mutual understanding between cultures, religions and ethnic groups,” said Kutesa.

“Every time we chose dialogue and reconciliation over confrontation, we take a step forward on our collective path to lasting peace,” said Kutesa.

Meanwhile, the president also looked ahead to the world’s “historic journey” toward formulation of an inclusive and transformative future development agenda, saying 2015 is a year of hope and opportunity, representing an unprecedented chance to set the world on a path toward sustainable development and to eradicate poverty and hunger.

“The task ahead of us is momentous and will require profound shifts in how we think and act,” he said.

“Interfaith collaboration can not only help promote common values shared by all humankind; it can also serve as an important foundational element for the advancement of our post-2015 development objectives,” he added.