UNITED NATIONS, Apr 15 2021: The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has condemned the act of vandalism that resulting in the defacing of a mosque in western France with Islamophobic graffiti just two days before the start of Ramadan.
A top official for the alliance, Miguel Angel Moratinos expressed solidarity with the Muslim community in France and wished them a blessed and peaceful Ramadan according to a statement issued by a spokesperson. Moratinos denounced the graffiti on the walls of the Avicenne Islamic cultural center in the western French city of Rennes.
Hate slogans were discovered in a side building of the mosque and earlier, in the neighboring city of Nantes, the door of the Arrahma mosque was destroyed by a fire. The UNAOC High Representative called those acts “despicable”, saying they were an affront to international human rights laws and the values and principles the United Nations upholds, particularly the freedom of religion or belief.
Moratinos added that now more than ever, unity and solidarity should be the guiding beacons as the world stands firmly against the surge in anti-Muslim hatred, stigma, as well as hate speech targeting populations based on their religion or belief. He said that mutual respect, interfaith harmony, and peaceful co-existence were attainable when there is broad space for everyone to freely and safely practice the rituals of their religions or beliefs.
The representative also recalled the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, developed by UNAOC, encouraging governments and relevant stakeholders to support the implementation of its recommendations, which emphasize the universality of religious sites as symbols of shared humanity, history, and traditions.
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