UNITED NATIONS: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who joined the OIC ambassadors Friday in a virtual celebration of Ramzan, said that the spirit of the holy month was linked to peace and reflection as well as to do better for vulnerable communities. Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and chairman of OIC group at the UN, chaired and moderated the traditional annual gathering. In remarks at the annual event, the UN chief expressed his understanding of Muslim causes, especially Palestine, and countering rising Islamophobia. In this connection, Guterres expressed deep concern at the deteriorating security situation in Jerusalem and briefed the OIC group on his efforts to reach out to all sides to help calm the situation. He called for maintaining the “status quo” at the holy sites in Jerusalem and reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution and resolving the Palestine-Israeli conflict on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions and international law. Islamophobia was “completely unacceptable” and expressed his "total commitment” to actively counter Islamophobia, xenophobia, negative stereotyping, and all forms of irrational hate, and intolerance. He called for solidarity in efforts to counter the global rise in Islamophobia, xenophobia, neo-Nazism, white supremacist, stigma, and hate speech targeting vulnerable communities including Muslims. The OIC Ambassadors expressed their appreciation for the Secretary-General’s firm commitment to and solidarity with the global Muslim causes and commended his leadership during the times of Covid-19 pandemic and conflicts in many parts of the world. The meeting also agreed to maintain a regular dialogue between the OIC and the Secretary-General on all issues of mutual concern.