Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the Internet broadcast of a video made by the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, describing it as “offensively anti-Islamic,” while he also called on those upset by the film to remain calm. In a statement issued by his spokesperson after last night’s airing of the film, entitled Fitna, Mr. Ban said “there is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence.
The right of free expression is not at stake here. “I acknowledge the efforts of the Dutch Government to stop the broadcast of this film and appeal for calm to those understandably offended by it. Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility.” The Secretary-General stressed that the United Nations stands at the locus of global efforts to advance mutual respect, understanding and dialogue between different cultures, religions and groups. “We must also recognize that the real fault line is not between Muslim and Western societies, as some would have us believe, but between small minorities of extremists, on different sides, with a vested interest in stirring hostility and conflict.”
In 2005 Spain and Turkey established the www.unaoc.org Alliance of Civilizations under the auspices of the UN to promote better cross-cultural relations around the world, and last year Mr. Ban appointed the former Portuguese president Jorge Sampaio as the High Representative for the Alliance.
Source: UN News Alerts