update deskAntisemitism

UN expresses ‘dismay’ at anti-Semitic statements by Islamic Relief leader

“It is imperative for civil society organizations and faith-based actors to exhibit a zero-tolerance policy towards anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination online and offline by putting in place effective measures,” said Miguel Moratinos.

The United Nations building in New York City. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The United Nations building in New York City. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Miguel Moratinos, expressed his “dismay” on Tuesday over anti-Semitic views espoused on Facebook by Heshmat Khalifa, the head of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), which is Britain’s biggest Muslim charity.

Khalifa resigned from IRW after The Times approached him last week and reported about his past remarks, including labeling Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi a “pimp son of the Jews” and calling Israeli authorities as “grandchildren of monkeys and pigs.”

Additionally, Khalifa has called U.S.-designated terrorist group Hamas “the purest resistance movement in modern history,” and that designating it as such is “shameful disgrace to all Muslims.”

In a statement confirming his resignation, IRW issued a “strong condemnation” of Khalifa’s anti-Semitic posts and announced a review of its “processes for screening trustees and senior executives’ social-media posts to ensure that this will not happen again.”

“We reject and condemn terrorism and believe that all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism, are unacceptable,” said IRW. “These values are fundamental to our organization, our donors and the people we serve.”

In his statement, while Moratinos acknowledged IRW’s statement, he reiterated that “it is imperative for civil society organizations and faith-based actors to exhibit a zero-tolerance policy towards anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination online and offline by putting in place effective measures.”

An example Moratinos gave was to “review the existing vetting standards and enforce a strict code of conduct applicable to all its personnel to ensure that an accountability process is in place to avoid the recurrence of such toxic, racist pronouncements that are an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the United Nations Charter.”

Moratinos was just tapped as the first-ever U.N. Focal Point to monitor anti-Semitism.

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