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)


Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Updated 30 May 2020

Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Hana Abdullah Alomair is the director of Netflix’s first Saudi thriller original series, titled “Whispers,” which is due to begin streaming in 190 countries on June 11. 

A Saudi writer, filmmaker, and movie critic, Alomair won the Silver Palm Tree Award for best script at the Saudi Film Competition in 2008.

She gained a bachelor’s degree in Arabic-English translation from King Saud University in 1992 and four years later a master’s degree in the same field of study from Heriot-Watt University, in Scotland.

Her documentary “Beyond Words” was screened during the Gulf Film Festival in 2019 and was selected for the main competition in this year’s Muscat International Film Festival.

A member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, she has worked as a head writer in writing workshops for several TV series. She was a jury member at the Saudi Film Festival held by Rotana in 2013. Her second
flick, “The Complaint,” was selected in the main competition of Tessa’s Festival for Asian and African Films in Morocco in 2014 and it won the Golden Palm
Tree Award for best short fiction film in the Saudi Film Competition in 2015.

In 2016, Alomair, together with Hind Al-Fahhad, scooped the prize for best script for the short film “Peddlers” at the King Fahd Center Short Film Competition.

She recently published a book about the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and in 2017 wrote a play called “Qat Oqat.”

Last year, she wrote and directed her latest short film “Swan Song,” which won the Golden Palm Tree Award for best actor in the Saudi Film Festival.