High-Level Video Conference: Role of Religious Leaders to Fight COVID-19

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12-May-2020 03:03:43
Our shared vulnerability to the coronavirus pandemic reveals “our common humanity”, the UN chief says during an online meeting with religious leaders on the important role they can play, in limiting the damage caused by COVID-19.

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Joined by leaders from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths, the UN chief cited previous public health crises, including HIV/AIDS and Ebola, noting how spiritual leadership had been a positive benefit in terms of community values, attitudes and actions.

“It lays bare our responsibility to promote solidarity as the foundation of our response – a solidarity based on the human rights and human dignity of all”, Secretary-General António Guterres explained. “And it highlights the crucial role of religious leaders in your communities and beyond”.

General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande highlighted the unique role of faith, saying that it gives “hope to the hopeless” and in times of anxiety, “can be a significant source of comfort and community resilience.”

High-Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Miguel Moratinos shared the Secretary-General’s call for global solidarity, underscoring the need to consider vulnerable populations and marginalized communities, as well as growing stigma and hate speech.

Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, of the Catholic Church, told the gathering that the pandemic “provides the impetus for us to build bridges of friendship and fraternity".

Rabbi Arthur Schneier of the Park East Synagogue in New York, and Ambassador to the UNAOC, looked beyond the pandemic, reminding all that “every crisis and conflict comes to an end”.

Ahmed Abbadi, Secretary General of Morocco’s Rabita Mohammadia of Oulémas spoke on behalf of the Islamic faith.

The organizer of the event, Moroccan Ambassador to the UN Omar Hilale, noted that "the fury with which COVID-19 fell on the world and its planetary consequences, require, more than ever, a unified and responsible message.”

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