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At UN General Assembly, Jonathan Condemns Anti-Islam Acts

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SAN FRANCISCO, September 25, (THEWILLL) - President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has condemned religious intolerance and denigration of rival religions, describing them as acts capable of fuelling disaster and chaos.

He took the position on Tuesday while addressing the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations on recent protests in Nigeria and other parts of the world over an American Movie, The Innocence Of Muslims, which Muslims believe to have insulted their leader, Prophet Mohammed.

Jonathan stated that freedom of expression and religious tolerance should complement each other in other to achieve peaceful coexistence of people of all faiths.

“The events of recent weeks have demonstrated how interconnected our world is and the extent to which one incident can spark off general mayhem and conflagration. Freedom of expression should not be a licence to incitement. The freedom that we all hold dear and true should be exercised wisely and cautiously. Freedom of expression and religious tolerance must not be mutually exclusive but should be complimentary to each other,” he said.

“Much as we eschew violence and deplore the needless losses of lives and destruction of property, we also condemn the deliberate denigration of religious beliefs and sensitivities which in turn lead to counter reactions.”

According to a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, he also informed the global assembly of his administration’s adoption of a multi-faceted strategy in dealing with the threats of terrorism and militancy.

“Our response has been multi-faceted, as we seek to address the root causes of these threats, exploring opportunities for dialogue, improving law enforcement to ensure public safety and security.

“International cooperation has also been a key factor in tackling our security challenges. We have signed agreements with our neighbours, Cameroon, Niger and Chad bilaterally, and multilaterally, on the platform of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

“These efforts are aimed at safeguarding the security of our individual countries and denying terrorists the use of our region as sanctuary. We are confident that these measures will stem the flow and access to small arms and light weapons, which have indeed become Africa’s weapon of mass destruction.”

Jonathan equally advised the establishment of a Conflict Mediation Commission under the Office of the Secretary-General as a way of further strengthening peace-building initiatives of the United Nations in response to political crises, insurgencies and acts of terrorism in many regions of the world, saying:

“Experience elsewhere gives us reason to believe that there is value in the creation of this mechanism. Nigeria stands ready to work with other countries to make the protection of innocent civilians caught in conflict situations a priority of the United Nations.

“There is no doubt that the absence of a global consensus to control the flow of such weapons, including small arms and light weapons, is fuelling conflicts, constraining growth and development, and increasing human rights violations.”