Annan warns of danger of discrimination, violence in wake of terror attacks

Annan warns of danger of discrimination, violence in wake of terror attacks

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has extended condolences to the Sikh community after one of its members was murdered following the 11 September terrorist attacks against the United States.

"On behalf of the United Nations, I wish to convey my deepest sympathies with the Sikh community at this time of trial," Mr. Annan said in a message to the memorial ceremony for Balbir Singh Sodhi, held in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday. "Men and women from all faiths have been outraged by the acts of violence and discrimination that have taken place in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks, both against Sikhs and people from other faiths and cultures."

The Secretary-General emphasized that the perpetrators of terrorist attacks are never defined by religion or national descent. "No people, no region and no religion should be condemned, assaulted or targeted because of the unspeakable acts of individuals," he said.

Mr. Annan lauded the authorities and people of Phoenix who showed solidarity with the Sikh community, as well as New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and US President George W. Bush for their leadership in condemning the post-terror violence. "To do otherwise, and to allow divisions between and within societies to be exacerbated by acts of terrorism, would be to do the terrorists' work for them," he said.

Pledging that the UN will be continuing to defend victims of discrimination, he said "We stand with the Sikh community and with all people of tolerance, at this difficult moment for us all."