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UN council will discuss repeated desecrations of Koran

More than 30 horrific burnings of the Koran in recent times are the latest manifestation of polarization and fragmentation, says Volker Turk.

On October 6, the UN Council will discuss recent attacks on the Koran, the Muslim holy book. The UN human rights chief made these comments at the 54th Human Rights Council’s opening session in Geneva, which began with a moment of silence to express solidarity with Morocco after the devastating earthquake.

Instead of unity of purpose and clear, cooperative leadership, Turk said the world is witnessing “politics of division and distraction,” such as the creation of fabricated debates over gender, migration, or imagining a “clash” of civilizations. He added:

“The repugnant series of some 30 incidents of burning the Koran recently is the latest manifestation of this urge to polarize and fragment – to create divisions, within societies, and between countries.”

During the previous session of the Human Rights Council in July, Turk called on states to combat the “weaponization of religious differences for political purposes.” He said:

“These and other incidents appear to have been manufactured to express contempt and inflame anger; to drive wedges between people; and to provoke, transforming differences of perspective into hatred and, perhaps, violence.”

He added that regardless of whether what the law says is permissible or not, and irrespective of one’s own religious beliefs or lack of belief, “people need to act with respect for others.”

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