Takht Ravanchi spoke on Monday at a UN meeting marking International Day for Countering Hate Speech.
He stated that the growing wave of incitement to people based on their religious beliefs is a serious challenge to co-existence and tolerance among nations.
The following is the full text of the statement read by Takht Ravanchi in his address to the meeting:
I would like to express my appreciation to you for convening this High-level Meeting to commemorate the International Day for Countering Hate Speech.
We value the proclamation of this international day to highlight the commitments to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, and to promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue, dialogue among civilizations, as well as tolerance and reconciliation in matters relating to peaceful coexistence among cultures and religions.
In our increasingly interconnected world, we need to rely on diverse cultures to enrich our ability to confront multitude of challenges facing human beings.
We should recognize the potentials of this diversity and create a new sense of togetherness and closeness.
Today, such phenomenon as hate speech, xenophobia and Islamophobia, as well as incitement to hatred based on religion, have seriously challenged the essentials of tolerance among nations.
Notably, proliferating hate speech, discrimination and violence, has caused great suffering toward Muslim communities around the world.
The growing trend of Islamophobia has been fueled by the lack of resolve on the part of certain governments to confront hate speech and acts of hate against Muslims, anti-Muslim media outlets, as well as civic groups promoting a hostile and abusive environment against Muslims in the West. It is unfortunate to witness that the politicization and restriction of the Hijab, the burning of the Holy Qur’an, and the desecration of Islamic symbols and holy sites are being pursued in certain countries. In this regard, we would like to recall Article 20 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.
In addressing this growing phenomenon, we may also refer to the gender aspects, as Muslim girls and women are frequently targeted because of the way they dress.
Such Islamophobic tendencies have created an environment conducive to violence and violent extremism which poses serious threats to the social cohesion as well as security and well-being of all societies.
The designation of 15 March as International Day to Combat Islamophobia by the General Assembly was a milestone in our collective efforts to combat this menace.
We just heard outrageous allegations made by the representative of the Zionist regime against my country.
We reject these allegations which are made to deflect attention from Israeli crimes and atrocities in our region. The Zionist regime is well known for its racist policies and spread of hate speech and its propaganda cannot hide this very fact.