Rising violence against kids triggers call to ‘act’

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Updated 01 March 2013

Rising violence against kids triggers call to ‘act’

Twelve children died as a result domestic violence in 2012, double the number from the previous year, according to Maha Al-Muneef, executive director of the National Family Safety Program (NFSP).
These cases are recorded at hospitals’ protection centers, she said recently on the sidelines of the celebrations of the World Thinking Day for Girl Guides and Scouts.
The 12 deaths jumped dramatically from six child deaths in 2011 and five reported in 2010.
A recent report by hospitals protection centers showed center personnel recorded 200 cases of child abuse in one year. Eighty percent of the cases were violence against children that resulted in severe injuries, and 20 percent were sexual abuse incidents.
“Unfortunately violence against children is mostly perpetrated by the parents,” Al-Muneef said.
Al-Muneef said a recent study that included more than 58 countries showed that in seven years, the rate of domestic violence ranged between 3 percent and as high as 70 percent of the population.
“The Kingdom’s rate is between 20 percent and 30 percent, which should makes us work on facing the issue by all means to curb it,” she said. “The NSFP is working on eliminating physical, sexual, mental abuse and negligence.”
Most of those affected by these types of abuse are women, girls, children, the elderly and people with special needs. The seventh National Society for Human Rights’ report that showed that 20 percent of the cases received by the society in 2010 are of domestic violence, which is the highest the NSHR had received since its inception. In these cases, female victims numbered 57 while boys accounted for 25 cases.
Shoura Council member Thuraya Al-Oraidh said she hoped the issue of violence against children would be put for discussion at the council among other issues that are of concern of a large proportion of the society.
Cases of violence against children are not new but the media did not bring them up as most of individuals in society considered it a family affair.
However, given an increased public awareness that admits the problem, the media has focused on it currently, she said.
Al-Oraidh did not think that child abuse is increasing, but public awareness has improved reporting of such case.The National Family Safety Program recorded more than 500 cases of violence against children in 2011.
Hussien Al-Sharif, president of the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR), called for accelerating the issuance of the Violence Against Women and Children Act that criminalizes such acts. He said that the problem is becoming worse due to the delay in issuing the act although it was discussed in the Shoura Council. The implementation of the act that determines penalties and jurisdictions of all parties in such cases, including the criminalization of those who know about violence cases but do not report them, would solve the issue.


Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

Updated 17 October 2019

Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

  • Intellectuals, diplomats discuss challenge of blending cultures, faiths and values

RIYADH/JEDDAH: The European envoy to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday called for more tolerance and respect to help bring diverse societies closer together.

Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.

Organized by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS), the event gathered together top intellectuals, diplomats and scholars to debate the issues of tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance of others.

Opening the lecture at the King Faisal Foundation building in Riyadh, d’Urso spoke about tolerance and how it was core to the transformation of societies, especially in Europe which had become more diverse.

“Today’s European society is a mixture of cultures, faiths, values, ideas, and habits. The challenge is to make sure our society is more inclusive, enhance mutual understanding and promote tolerance and respect,” the envoy said.

He pointed to the UN’s blossoming partnership with the KFCRIS and the importance of the lecture as key building blocks in the process of bridging cultural and religious gaps between societies.

“I think there are few more teams that are exchanging on the Saudi and European perspectives of religious tolerance and diversity. All of us know that the KFCRIS builds from the legacy of the late King Faisal and has been a pillar in promoting Islam,” d’Urso added.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.
  • Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.
  • The director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

He noted that in Europe there were many people of faith that had respect for coexistence. 

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.

He said a state that respected others, human existence and brotherhood could not exist “unless there is respect for diversity and differences as a universal norm that no one can collide.”

According to Al-Issa, the Charter of Madinah (regarded as the first Islamic state constitution) was considered one of the best achievements of civil legislation in human history. “This document was held by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, with the Jews and represented binding legislation for Muslims toward religious minorities.”

The MWL chief noted that the document included the protection of civil and religious rights. “The document cannot be absorbed by extremism, it is clear. These rights and freedoms have been preserved by this legislation. And the Prophet Muhammad coexisted with everyone and understood these differences and diversity.”

In his speech, Al-Issa explained how the Qur’an gave Jews and Christians a special name to celebrate their religious origins where they were called “people of the book,” in reference to the Torah and the Gospel. The history of Christians and Jews was also never omitted.

Addressing the event, director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

“We encounter such a diversity of ways of being Muslim from a theoretical, cultural, philosophical, ideological point of view. Any single Muslim group or community is represented somewhere in Europe and this situation puts European Muslims in a very unique environment which is different from any other Islamic majority society in the world,” said Privot.

He pointed out that for the first time in history Muslim groups from Uzbekistan and Senegal were living together and trying to become a community in European societies.

“Societies, which have completely liberalized the market of religions, believe all faiths are accepted,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, an MWL forum in Makkah recommended that Islamic discourse should adhere to the principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the Muslims’ uppermost legislative sources, which are also known as the Two Divine Revelations.

The forum, titled “The Service of the Two Revelations,” called upon concerned authorities in the Muslim world to regulate Islamic fatwas in a way that prevented extremism and stopped producing any misguided explanations of the divinely revealed texts.

The participants also encouraged the use of modern technology, especially social media, to better serve the Qur’an and Sunnah to help link Muslim youths with the two revelations.

In addition, the gathering proposed establishing platforms for producing software and smart apps related to the Qur’an and Sunnah and the launch of an international service award under the umbrella of the MWL.

Al-Issa added that the MWL had staged a number of Qur’an memorization programs in 78 countries and said there were now 68 colleges and institutes where 7,500 students were studying the Qur’an.

“Some 61,275 Qur’an readers have graduated from these institutes, with 5,055 reciters having obtained authentic reading certificates. The IOQAS (International Organization of Qitab and Sunnah) has also carried out 193 training courses and provided nearly 3,000 scholarships,” he said.