As an outcome of the recent conference "The Power of Words: The Role of Religion, Media and Policy in Countering Hate Speech" the Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation In The Arab World issued the following statement:
We, the leaders and religious institutions from all over the Arab world, gathered at the invitation of the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), in our belief and awareness of:
- The importance of common citizenship as a fundamental approach to peaceful coexistence, especially in religiously, culturally and ethnically diverse societies,
- The respect for the other as a cornerstone of building peaceful and resilient societies in the face of hate speech across the globe.
- The painful period that the Arab Region and many conflict areas globally are going through, where unprecedented tensions are witnessed among different religions and cultures by the consequences of hate speech.
- The violent attacks in the Arab region and other parts of the world against places of worship, religious symbols, and killing innocent people. These are only vivid examples of the consequences of hate speech in our world today, with the highest incidence of hate crimes recorded since the 1930s.
- The significant contribution of some media and social media platforms in provoking incitement against peaceful coexistence. These platforms were exploited to practice discrimination and produce hate speech through the participation and comments of some bloggers.
- Our human, religious and national responsibility make us obliged to ensure the right to worship and living in peace of all components of our societies, and to protect them from the rhetoric of hate.
- The importance of our role, especially at this difficult stage in the history of our nation, and the need to unite and cooperate among stakeholders to combat hate speech and put effective measures to counter it, at all levels; policies, media, education and religion.
- The importance of supporting the efforts of the United Nations through the UN Strategy and Plan of Action to counter hate speech. These efforts are aligned with the leading role of international dialogue centre (KAICIID) in bringing together religious leaders and policymakers to address the challenges faced by societies,
To achieve these goals we are determined to:
1- Identifying regional priorities in dealing with hate speech and incitement to violence in the name of religion in the Arab region.
2- Enhancing the cooperation between governments, religious institutions and leaders, and media organizations in countering hate speech and preventing incitement to violence, also exchanging experiences to produce practical recommendations that contribute to improving strategies, as well as sharing best practices in this regard.
3- Supporting interfaith and interreligious efforts to counter hate speech and its consequences in the region and launching an annual award or reward for outstanding individual and institutional efforts in countering hate speech.
4- Activating the role of media and social media platforms in supporting the efforts and campaigns that counter hate speech and consolidate the principles of religious diversity and common citizenship.
5- Developing the role of interreligious education methods and strategies that embrace religious and cultural diversity in countering hate speech and incitement to violence, and enhancing the capacity of teachers and curriculum developers on this regard.
In this context, we would like to reiterate that since its establishment in 2018, the Interreligious Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation has implemented in cooperation with KAICIID International Dialogue Centre many projects and initiatives at both local and regional levels to counter hate speech and promote peaceful coexistence and common citizenship in the Arab world.
In conclusion, we hope that the efforts of the Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation between Religious Leaders and Institutions in the Arab World and KAICIID, which come in line with the efforts exerted globally by international institutions and governments, will contribute to countering hate speech and promoting peaceful coexistence among all diverse human beings. Therefore, we collectively announce the adoption of the Vienna Plan of Action in cooperation with KAICIID International Dialogue Centre and all partners around the world to advance it in the most effective approach.
Issued in Vienna, Austria on 31 October, 2019