UN chief makes special appeal to religious leaders over COVID-19

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

United Nations, (Asian independent) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched a special appeal to religious leaders of all faiths to join forces to work for peace around the world and focus on the fight against COVID-19.

“I do so at a special time on the spiritual calendar. For Christians, it is the celebration of Easter. Jews are marking Passover. And soon, Muslims will begin the holy month of Ramadan,” said Guterres in a video message on Saturday. “I extend my warmest wishes to all those observing these important moments.”

Those occasions used to be moments of community, of families coming together, of hugs and handshakes and the gathering of humanity, he noted, reported Xinhua news agency.

“But this is a time like no other. We are all seeking to navigate a strange, surreal world — a world of silent streets, shuttered storefronts, empty places of worship, and a world of worry.”

Guterres asked religious leaders to take inspiration from the essence of those holy occasions as moments for reflection, remembrance and renewal.

“As we reflect, let us spare a special thought for heroic health workers on the front lines battling this awful virus, and for all those working to keep our cities and towns going.

“Let us remember the most vulnerable of the vulnerable around the world. Those in war zones and refugee camps and slums and all those places least equipped to fight the virus.

“And let us renew our faith in one another, and draw strength from the good that is gathering in troubled times as communities of diverse faiths and ethical traditions unite to care for one another.”

“Together, we can and will defeat this virus — with cooperation, solidarity, and faith in our common humanity,” said Guterres.