Freedom of speech ‘no defense for racism’, KSA says

Migrants rally outside the EU offices in Athens, Greece during an anti racism and anti-fascism demonstration on March 16, 2019 to mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. (AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI)
Updated 17 March 2019

Freedom of speech ‘no defense for racism’, KSA says

  • Fahad Al-Mutairi spoke during a discussion panel at the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva
  • Saudi Arabia has warned repeatedly of the dangers of racist rhetoricSaudi sociologist cites need for many countries worldwide to curtail media propaganda that encourage hate speeches and crimes

GENEVA: Saudi Arabia has urged governments throughout the world to reject racism and intolerance, and to employ balanced rhetoric and policies that contribute to the integration of Muslims into their societies.

The Kingdom has warned repeatedly of the dangers of racist rhetoric, said Dr. Fahd Al-Mutairi, head of the human rights section at the permanent Saudi mission to the UN office in Geneva.

Speaking during a discussion panel on the mitigation and countering of rising nationalist populism and extreme supremacist ideologies at the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Al-Mutairi expressed his deepest condolences to the victims of the terrorist attack in New Zealand. He expressed concern about some racist speeches and policies in certain countries, including Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Britain, Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

He called on these countries to pass laws that limit discrimination and hate against Muslims.

Al-Mutairi expressed the Kingdom’s deep concern about the leniency and favoritism shown to some of those who support the rhetoric of extremism, hatred and violence.

“There are those who welcome these despicable speeches in some parliaments of these countries, while welcoming the pretext of freedom of opinion and expression,” he said. “We call on these countries to pass laws that limit racism against Muslims.”

Saudi sociologist Amani Al-Ajlan believes that many countries around the world need to change their policies towards the Muslim countries and their media's propaganda in order to eliminate such speeches and crimes.

"Since September 11, the western media has been openly inciting hate speech by linking terrorism to Islam and vice versa, without taking into account the fact that one-day a violent person will come from these communities to commit violent attacks as a result of the movements they have taken against Muslims," Al-Ajlan told Arab News.

She said that humans today are acting naturally within their own human nature, not according to human rights laws. Human behavior is instinctively prone to violence and extremism when they feel threatened by their livelihood, money, and identity.

If the media portrays “Muslims and their religion” as being “behind all the evils in the world, then … one day someone will practice violence against Muslims,” she said.

"These societies are paying the price of their countries' policies over many years that intervene in the affairs of Muslim countries and get involved in wars, military interventions as well as the media propaganda they created. This problem is historical, it is not new."

Moreover, she said that sometimes the right to expression has become a guarantee of the right to broadcast hate speech from all parties in those societies. 

(With SPA)


Saudi efforts to promote tolerance, moderation lauded

Updated 23 July 2019

Saudi efforts to promote tolerance, moderation lauded

RIYADH: The rector of the Islamic University of Brussels hailed Saudi efforts to promote moderate Islam, reject extremism, fight against terrorism, serve the religion and its followers, and respond to aberrant ideologies that have harmed the Muslim world.

Dr. Mustafa Khader Donmez also praised the programs carried out by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance.

“The Kingdom has established specialized scientific, educational and media institutions, called for the unity of the Islamic nation, and cooperated with all that strengthens the nation’s unity and preserves its security,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia has been holding conferences inside and outside the Kingdom, to which it invited scholars and specialists, in cooperation with regional and international bodies to promote Islamic tolerance and address the causes of extremism and terrorism.”

Donmez said the Kingdom has invited Islamic institutions and international bodies to implement programs and events that fight extremism and condemn terrorism.

“The Kingdom is keen to promote international peace and communication between cultures and the followers of different religions through calling for interreligious and intercultural dialogue, a domain in which the Kingdom has been a pioneer,” he added.

Saudi Arabia “has taken the lead in spending for this purpose as it is in line with its high status on the Islamic and international levels,” he said. SPA Riyadh