U.N. Panel Urges Religious Tolerance

A U.N. General Assembly committee approved for the first time Monday a resolution decrying an increase in anti-Semitism along with rising intolerance and violence directed at other religions.

"We owe it to the victims of the Holocaust, to its survivors and to those who fought and died for their liberation, never to forget its lesson and to be ever vigilant against the scourge of religious intolerance in all its forms, including anti-Semitism," Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman said in a statement, praising the move.

The resolution on religious intolerance was adopted 177 to 0 by the assembly's social and humanitarian committee, which has jurisdiction over human rights issues.

Approval came after attempts by Muslim nations to delete or soften the reference to anti-Semitism, diplomats said.

The resolution, which comes up every year, now goes to the General Assembly for a final vote. Routine approval is expected as all 191 U.N. member nations have seats on both the committee and the full assembly.

The resolution, as adopted, "recognizes with deep concern the overall rise in instances of intolerance and violence directed against members of many religious communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia."

It urges nations to ensure "effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, including the provision of effective remedies in cases where the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief is violated."

An amendment offered by Pakistan on behalf of the 60-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference and aimed at diluting the language on anti-Semitism, was defeated 85 to 45 with 29 abstentions.