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)


Over 100 COVID-19 patients treated with blood plasma in Saudi Arabia

A lab technician freeze packs donated convalescent plasma donated by recovered COVID-19 patients. (AFP)
Updated 04 July 2020

Over 100 COVID-19 patients treated with blood plasma in Saudi Arabia

  • Health Ministry records 2,291 critical COVID-19 cases, deaths toll reaches 1,802

JEDDAH: More than 100 people infected with the coronavirus have been treated through blood plasma samples from patients who have recovered from the virus, the Saudi Ministry of Health said on Friday.

The initiative is part of a study involving several research centers in the Kingdom, with 512 donors from Riyadh, Eastern Province, Jeddah and Madinah. This indicates the Saudi community is highly invested in supporting the treatment.
The ministry said that blood plasma contains antibodies that help the body to heal. When a patient recovers, his plasma is used on an infected person, which can form a defense against the virus, especially as a cure is yet to be discovered.
The blood plasma treatment has been used before in China and other countries, but its efficacy levels have not been tested through documented clinical studies.
Saudi Arabia approved the initiative early in April and a team was assembled from the ministry, National Guard Hospitals, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, Armed Forces Hospital, university hospitals, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, as well as from the private sector.
The ministry confirmed that the research team was working around the clock to expand the initiative’s scope and launch it across the Kingdom by acquiring donors, which is done through Twitter and via email or phone.
To date the official website has had 14,000 visitors, inside and outside the Kingdom, who have showed interest in the study.
Initial tests of the plasma’s antibodies, health history, vital signs and diagnosis are taken before treatment begins.


• The total number of coronavirus cases in KSA reached 201,801.

• The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom reached 140,614.

Donors need to pass these tests for their plasma sample to be used on a COVID-19 patient safely. After that the recovering patient’s progress is monitored to further the research and determine its potency.
The donated plasma sample, usually amounting to 400ml to 700ml, is reliant on the donor’s weight and health. The sample is treated in blood banks to reduce microbes and put into two bags, each working as a single treatment dose. Patients are then treated with a single bag each day, and treatment is usually over a maximum of five days.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom recorded 50 new COVID-19-related deaths on Friday, raising the total number to 1,802.
There were 4,193 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning 201,801 people have now contracted the disease. There are 59,385 active cases; 2,291 of them are in critical condition.
According to the Health Ministry, 431 of the newly recorded cases were in Dammam, while Al-Hofuf recorded 399 and Riyadh recorded 383.
The ministry also announced that 2,945 more patients had recovered from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 140,614.
The ministry urges those who have come into contact with an infected person to immediately isolate themselves and call 937.