Rising extremism warrants global response, says Secretary-General

24 September 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed the need for forging common solutions to shared problems, in particular the growing threat of extremism, which like many of today’s challenges affects all countries, large and small.

In today’s world, “extremist violence in one place can have a ripple effect across many others,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to a high-level gathering of representatives comprising the “Group of Friends” of the global campaign known as the Alliance of Civilizations.

“Friction between communities spreads, causing mistrust, resentment and hatred to spill across borders. Old myths about cultures and religions get new life on the Internet, driving an even bigger wedge between diverse groups,” he stated.

“Rising extremism, like everything else in our interdependent world, demands a global response,” he added.

The Group of Friends can contribute to this effort by supporting the Alliance of Civilizations, a campaign created in 2005 at the initiative of Spain and Turkey and under UN auspices, aiming to help overcome prejudices between nations and cultures and to promote interfaith dialogue.

Through political, financial and strategic support for the Alliance, the Group can help overcome divisions and build trust, provide a platform to discuss sensitive issues creatively and constructively, and cut through polarized positions.

“You can tackle difficult questions from new angles, and encourage new ideas. You can support concrete initiatives that build understanding,” Mr. Ban said.

The “Group of Friends” network – a growing community of over 80 States and international organizations that support the objectives of the Alliance – was set up to foster partnerships and deepen cooperation on a range of initiatives across different regions.

 

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