Coronavirus: religious authority warns against racial abuse

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity urged the public to be mindful of others

Religious leaders in the Emirates have condemned using the coronavirus as an excuse to incite racial discrimination.

Officials urged the country to come together in the face of the epidemic, rather than risk spreading bigoted or hateful rhetoric.

Speaking on Monday, Mohamed Abdul Salam, secretary general of The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, urged the public to be mindful of others.

He described Covid-19 as a potential threat to human values and the ability of individuals from diverse backgrounds to coexist.

“Preventive measures are crucial in containing this disease, but that does not mean that we turn a blind eye to any racial discrimination towards certain nationalities that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus,” he said.

“The outbreak of this disease is perhaps the biggest threat to our human values and morals, and the best course of preventive action in these trying times is to practice human fraternity.”

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity comprises of a group of international religious leaders dedicated to mutual understanding and peace.

Since the outbreak of the virus began in China in January, there have been a number of reports globally of instances of racial abuse directed at Asian individuals or communities.

On Friday, a report by US television network CBS News, found cases of racism against Asian Americans was on the rise.

Meanwhile last month, a luxury hotel resort in Ras Al Khaimah was forced to apologise after turning away a group of Chinese guests.

“With the spread of the Covid-19 virus, humanity desperately requires unity in the face of this crisis which has hit countless economies and peoples around the world,” the fraternity committee said in a statement.

“The Covid-19 virus is said to affect the respiratory systems for humans, although one can argue that the biggest infection is to one’s core values through racial discrimination which will only serve to cause further pain and suffering.

“We must stop racist and xenophobic voices that are carelessly using the tragedy as a means to justify hate.”