UN chief urges world to stamp out religious persecution

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging the world to "stamp out anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, the persecution of Christians and other religious groups" on the first international day to remember people targeted for their religion and beliefs.

He said that "Jews have been murdered in synagogues, their gravestones defaced with swastikas; Muslims gunned down in mosques, their religious sites vandalised; Christians killed at prayer, their churches torched."

Guterres said International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion and Belief was an opportunity to demonstrate support "by doing all in our power to prevent such attacks and demanding that those responsible are held accountable."

He urged rejection of those who "falsely and maliciously invoke religion" to spread fear and hatred.

People pay their penitence and pray in front of the Western Wall in Jersusalem, Israel. Source:

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