United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday said Islamophobia and hate speeches in parts of the world were fuelling terrorism and providing support to terrorist groups. At a joint news conference with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Guterres said the implementation of xenophobic policies was providing propaganda material to groups like the Islamic State, AFP reported.
“This [Islamophobia] is sometimes the best support that Daesh [Islamic State] can have to make its own propaganda,” Guterres said. The secretary-general also called for the “resurrection” of peace talks between Yemen’s government-in-exile and Houthi rebel forces, The Japan Times reported. “I do believe that they need to for a very simple reason, the suffering of the Yemeni people,” he said.
Guterres’ remarks on Islamophobia come even as far right-wing politicians in the United States and Europe seek to implement anti-immigrant policies, mostly against refugees from West Asia and African countries. On February 9, a federal appeals court in the US refused to reinstate the immigration ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries ordered by President Donald Trump. While Trump had defended the move as “not a Muslim ban”, the restrictions brought in by his executive order has wreaked havoc on immigrant families, especially those with valid visas.
In Europe, parties such as Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland and the Marine Le Pen-led National Front in France have sought the imposition of strict anti-immigrant policies as well as a ban on Islamic symbols such as burkhas and mosques. A series of attacks in European countries has given such groups populist support.