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UN chief calls for unity to ‘build a peaceful world’, ahead of Ramadan

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In Sitak, Iraq, Mohammad and his family sit down to iftar, the nightly meal that breaks the fast during Ramadan.

Highlighting it as a period of compassion and empathy, Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday that the holy month of Ramadan is a “time for reflection and learning, an opportunity to come together and uplift each other”.

Ramadan begins this weekend and is celebrated by millions of Muslims around the world. The month – when fasting from dawn to sunset is obligatory – begins and ends around the crescent moon, a symbol used extensively in Ramadan decorations. 

Fasting in solidarity

In his video message marking the holy month, the UN chief said that he personally, had returned to fasting in solidarity, a practice he began as High Commissioner for Refugees, a title he held from 2005 through to 2015.

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“Every Ramadan, I had the honor of visiting Muslim countries, fasting in solidarity, and breaking bread with people. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic made that impossible, but I am happy to resume this tradition this year”, Mr. Guterres said.

Work hand in hand

Citing the Holy Quran, the UN chief said that God created nations and tribes “so that we might know one another” and called on people to “work hand in hand for the safety, dignity and prosperity of all women and men”.

Adding that as we go through times of tragedy and suffering, his thoughts and heart “are with everyone facing conflict, displacement and fear”, he concluded that we must learn from each other and “together, build a peaceful world”.

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