Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative

Mr. Chair,

The United Arab Emirates aligns itself with the statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of Yemen on behalf of the Arab Group, and thanks Mauritania, as Chair of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, as well as the Mission of the OIC for organising this important commemoration.

The UAE wishes to commend Pakistan for introducing the resolution establishing the International Day to Combat Islamophobia adopted by consensus in 2022, which made this commemoration possible.

Today’s resolution on “Measures to Combat Islamophobia”, adopted earlier this morning, is critical and timely, as it comes against the backdrop of an alarming rise in Islamophobia the world over.

Public acts of religious hatred are proliferating. UN reports indicate that terrorist groups are exploiting the burning of the Holy Quran to inspire acts of terror in Europe.

Incidences of Islamophobia have skyrocketed worldwide, leading to harassment, physical and online abuse, hate speech, and the desecration of holy books and religious sites. 

You do not have to be Muslim to reject intolerance.

And you do not have to be Muslim to call these incidents what they are: a threat to the stability of our social fabric and to international peace and security.

In this context, Security Council Resolution 2686 on ‘Tolerance, Peace, and Security’, which was unanimously adopted in June of last year, strengthens the Security Council’s prevention measures to address hate speech, racism, and acts of terrorism in situations across the peace continuum.

Despite a groundswell of action to combat intolerance, Islamophobia is spreading through new and innovative tools. The digital era has opened the flood gates to online hate speech, disinformation, and misinformation, and extremism and intolerance.

Hate begets hate, and we must not shield those who continue to spread it.

Our actions to combat this challenge must far outweigh the actions of those perpetuating it.

In this regard, there are three key actions we must undertake.

First, promoting tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and human fraternity is essential in combatting Islamophobia and other forms of intolerance while building stable and peaceful communities.

Second, governments must work with actors from across society to tackle hate speech, misinformation, and disinformation.

And third, governments must strengthen cooperation with the private sector, and, in particular, social media companies, to prevent their products and platforms from being used to spread hate speech.

Combatting Islamophobia should not limit freedom of expression, but it must address intolerance, extremism, and hate speech in a manner that respects international human rights law.

This is why the adoption of today’s resolution is a critical turning point.

We believe it takes the necessary steps to galvanise a proactive and more coordinated UN response to addressing the global threats of Islamophobia, hate speech, extremism, and other forms of intolerance.

In this regard, we look forward to the implementation of this resolution. The UAE will continue working with the international community in promoting the universal principles of tolerance and peaceful coexistence towards a safer, more stable, and prosperous future. 

Thank you, Mr Chair.