New York (UNA-OIC) – High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Miguel Ángel Moratinos stressed that insulting religions and sacred religious symbols provokes hatred and violent extremism, leading to polarization and fragmentation of society.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Moratinos called for mutual respect of all religions and beliefs, and for fostering a culture of fraternity and peace.
The UN official added that he is following with deep concern the growing tensions and instances of intolerance triggered by French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo’s publication of satirical caricatures depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which Muslims consider insulting and deeply offensive.
“The inflammatory caricatures have also provoked acts of violence against innocent civilians, who were attacked for their sheer religion, belief or ethnicity,” he said, spelling out that freedom of expression should be exercised in a way that fully respects the religious beliefs of all religions.
“Acts of violence cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group,” Moratinos asserted.