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UN urges religious to fight harmful messages

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations secretary-general is urging religious leaders to challenge “inaccurate and harmful messages” fueling rising ethno-nationalism, hate speech and conflict as the coronavirus pandemic circles the globe.

Antonio Guterres warned “extremists and radical groups are seeking to exploit eroding trust in leadership and feed on people’s vulnerability to serve their own ends.”

He says the role of faith leaders in addressing the challenges of COVID-19 can play “a pivotal role.” 

The U.N. chief cites an “alarming increase in violence against women and girls” as the pandemic spreads. Guterres appealed to religious leaders “to categorically condemn such acts and support shared principles of partnership, equality, respect and compassion.”

He also called on the leaders to join the fight against misinformation about COVID-19.

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