UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres affirmed that the move is “a call for action to stamp out anti-Muslim hatred”.
“Discrimination diminishes us all. We must stand up against it,” he said on Twitter. “Today & every day, we must counter the forces of division by reaffirming our common humanity.”
Last year, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a unanimous resolution submitted by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) deeming this day as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
The UN said that a recent UN special rapporteur report on freedom of religion or belief indicated that “suspicion, discrimination and outright hatred towards Muslims had reached ‘epidemic proportions’”.
The UN report indicates that in countries where they represent a minority, Muslims often face discrimination in accessing goods and services, finding work, and education, adding that in some countries, they are denied citizenship or legal immigration status due to hostile perceptions of foreigners that Muslims represent a threat to national security.
Muslim women are disproportionately targeted in Islamophobic hate crimes, the UN added.