Osservazioni del Segretario Generale dell’ONU sulla Giornata Internazionale per la lotta all’Islamofobia



New York, 15 March 2024


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

We gather today as Muslims around the world observe the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is a time of reflection and solidarity.

It’s a moment to come together and uplift each other.

But for many Muslims around the world, these are also times of anguish and fear.

In the spirit of Ramadan, I have called for a silencing of the guns in Gaza and Sudan.

Today, at this important event, I call on all political, religious and community leaders — everyone, everywhere — to join our plea.

It’s time for peace.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

For nearly two billion Muslims across the world, Islam is a pillar of faith and worship uniting people in every corner of the globe.

And let us remember that it is also a pillar of our shared history.

For centuries, Muslims have been a crucial source of culture, philosophy, scholarship and science.

From the enormous influence of Avicenna, the great physician and philosopher whose interpretations of Plato and Aristotle helped shaped the development of Western European philosophy.

To the Muslim mathematician and astronomer Al-Khwarizmi, responsible for delivering Hindu-Arabic numerals and the father of algebra.

To the “father of rationalism,” Averroes, whose groundbreaking commentaries bridged Islamic and Western thought.

To the countless contributions of Muslims across every field — from science, technology and medicine, to literature, art, music and architecture.


Today’s event shines a light on a vicious plague that represents a complete denial and ignorance of Islam and Muslims and their undeniable contributions:

The plague of Islamophobia.

Around the world, we see a rising tide of anti-Muslim hate and bigotry.

That can come in many forms.

Structural and systemic discrimination.

Socio-economic exclusion.

Unequal immigration policies.

Unwarranted surveillance and profiling.

Restrictions in accessing citizenship, education, employment and justice.

These and other institutional barriers violate our shared commitment to human rights and dignity.

They also perpetuate a vicious cycle of exclusion, poverty and disenfranchisement that echoes across generations.

Meanwhile, divisive rhetoric and misrepresentation are propagating stereotypes, stigmatizing communities and creating an environment of misunderstanding and suspicion.

This can lead to an increase in harassment and even outright violence against Muslims — rising accounts of which are being reported by civil society groups in countries around the world.

Some are shamefully exploiting anti-Muslim hate and exclusionary policies for political gain.

We must call this what it is.

Hate. Plain and simple.

And purveyors of hate speech are misusing the most powerful megaphone in history to amplify and spread their despicable ideologies — social media.

Online platforms have become breeding grounds for extremist ideologies and harassment.

This not only deepens divisions.

It fuels real-life violence.

Sadly, this alarming trend is part of a wider pattern of supremacist ideologies and attacks against Jews, minority Christian communities and many others.

Hatred of one group fuels hatred of another.

Hate normalizes hate.

Hate destroys the fabric of our societies.

And hate undermines the equality, understanding and respect for human rights upon which a peaceful future — and a peaceful world — depend.


We cannot stand on the sidelines while hatred and bigotry run wild.

Today’s event reminds us that we all have a responsibility to confront and root-out the scourge of anti-Muslim bigotry.

Political leaders must lead the way, and foster social cohesion, not fear.

Governments must condemn inflammatory discourse and safeguard religious freedom — in particular for minorities.

And I am grateful to religious leaders who are working together to promote interfaith dialogue.

Digital platforms must moderate and prevent the spread of hateful content, while protecting users from harassment.

Artificial intelligence must reduce biases and stereotypes, not reproduce and amplify them.

And all of us must do our part to dismantle the walls of intolerance and division.

In cities, towns and villages. In schools, in the street, and online. Everywhere and anywhere.

Let’s all pledge to call out anti-Muslim bigotry, no matter where we see or hear it.


Muslims hail from all countries, cultures and walks of life.

They represent the wonderful diversity of the human family.

As we stand united on this International Day to Combat Islamophobia, let us renew our commitment to upholding the principles of equality, dignity, human rights and respect.

These are the cornerstone of our shared humanity — and of the United Nations Charter.

Let us promote empathy and invest in social cohesion — by embracing diversity as a strength rather than a source of division.

And let us stand in solidarity with Muslims from around the world — in this Holy Month of Ramadan and every day.

Together, we can build peaceful, just, and inclusive societies where every individual, regardless of their faith, can live in harmony and peace.

Thank you.