UN chief to gather faith leaders in fight against extremism

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today that he will invite faith leaders from all over the world to the United Nations in the coming months as a first step in a UN action plan to prevent violent extremism.

United Nations: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today that he will invite faith leaders from all over the world to the United Nations in the coming months as a first step in a UN action plan to prevent violent extremism.

The UN chief said in a speech at the White House summit on violent extremism in Washington that the UN plan will be presented to the 193-member General Assembly later this year. Ban said the aim of the meeting of faith leaders is "to promote mutual understanding and reconciliation."

"We will utilise the platform of the United Nations to send a powerful message of tolerance, solidarity and reconciliation," he said.

The secretary-general said he is convening the meeting of faith leaders with the General Assembly president and the UN Alliance of Civilisations, which was launched in 2005 to promote understanding across cultures and religions and help counter the forces that fuel polarisation and extremism.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the faith leaders meeting will take place before the assembly's annual gathering of world leaders in September.

Ban said in his speech today that there are four imperatives to defeat extremism and terrorism -- tackle the root causes, promote human rights, ensure that all countries are involved because it's a global challenge, and adopt "an all-out approach."

"Military operations are crucial to confront real threats. But bullets are not the 'silver bullet,'" he said. "Human rights, accountable institutions, the equitable delivery of services, and political participation -- these are among our most powerful weapons."

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the high representative for the Alliance of Civilisations, said after a meeting of its supporters yesterday that there is a need for universally agreed rules to combat hate speech and incitement, and legal reforms to respond to new and emerging ideological threats.

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