"The Secretary-General has spoken repeatedly against what we have seen as a rise in extremism in different parts of Europe. His message is one of tolerance and one of acceptance," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
More than 18,000 people took to the streets on Monday in the eastern German city of Dresden in support of a right-wing group calling itself "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident." They were heard shouting anti-immigrant and anti-refugee slogans.
The rally prompted massive counter-demonstrations in a number of cities including Cologne, Berlin, Stuttgart and Hamburg, where thousands of immigrants and Germans protested against the populist group and its copycat anti-Islam movements.
"We’re seeing throughout the world an unprecedented crisis in terms of refugees that are moving very often under perilous conditions seeking safety. And I think it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that those refugees are welcome and treated fairly," Dujarric said.
During his year-end press conference in December, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said countering extremism and the rise of far-right political parties that target minorities, migrants and Muslims would be one of the four imperatives the UN would focus on in 2015.
The rise of the Patriotic Europeans group has made headlines in Germany and abroad. The group started weekly protests in Dresden in October with an estimated 500 protesters, but significantly increased its support base since that time.
Germany witnessed an increase in suspicion and negative feelings toward Muslims in recent months as far-right and right-wing populist parties sought to benefit from a growing fear of Islam and Muslims, largely influenced by reports of atrocities committed by the militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group in the Middle East.
Germany has approximately 4 million Muslim resident, with 3 million of them of Turkish origin.