By Tawfik Lamari/Staff Reporter
The 14th Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue, held over two days under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani, concluded Wednesday.
The conference, under the theme of 'Religions and Hate Speech...Scriptures and Practice', was attended by nearly 300 thinkers and researchers from the three monotheistic religions (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) and drawn from 87 countries. The event was organised Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID).
During the serious dialogues and in-depth studies between the religious leaders and intellectual scholars present the conference came up with realistic proposals and initiatives, including efforts to confront all forms of hate speech, and achieve the lofty goal of meeting people of faith and specialists to open up horizons of dialogue and visions of understanding. Participants wished that peace and love may prevail among human beings of different religions, races and cultures.
Over the two days of the conference, three plenary sessions were held after the opening session, nine simultaneous side sessions, and a closing session, during which research papers were presented.
Guided by the contents of the papers and research presented, and the dialogues, interventions and discussions that took place during the conference sessions; the conference reached a number of recommendations, and issued a final statement.
DICID chairperson Dr Ibrahim Saleh al-Nuaimi read out the following final statement:
First: Emphasising that the heavenly religions call in their origins and legislations to love and peace, and reject all forms of hate speech, extremism, racism and discrimination based on religion, gender or race.
Second: Emphasising that confronting extremist ideology and hate speech is a humanitarian goal, and all efforts must be combined to counter this resulting extremist discourse at the level of individuals, institutions, and religious, intellectual and political leaders; by creating a peaceful and loving human and religious spirit, to build a peaceful civilized world.
Third: Condemning all forms and types of hate speech, and repudiating the practices of extremist groups that attribute themselves to religion amidst a lack of its essence and what it calls for.
Fourth: The necessity of taking all legislative means to set up a professional and ethical media strategy. To limit the use of media platforms and social media as platforms to spread hate speech, and to impose legal procedures on those platforms.
Fifth: Calling for the adoption of a proposal to be submitted to international organisations stipulating the necessity of developing educational curricula (especially in the adolescent stage), in order to instill correct religious values that call for respect and coexistence with the other, and to eliminate all that incites hatred.
Responsible religious leaders in their countries in particular must assume their responsibilities in that development, as stipulated in religious jurisdictions and teachings of a call to love and dialogue and the rejection of hatred and extremism.
Sixth: Warning against the existence of some forms of double discourse between those involved in interfaith dialogue; there should not be a discourse that a person addresses himself in following his religion, and another discourse that he addresses others with. If the speech is not straight, honest and real; it will be one of the most dangerous generators of hatred.
Seventh: Emphasising that the phenomenon of Islamophobia and prejudice against Islam is not the approach of the many in the West, but it is rather the approach of the few who ignore the true knowledge of the essence of Islam, and also ignore the tolerant civilised relations between Muslims and other followers of other religions.
Eighth: Emphasising the need to move from the dialogue stage to the stage of real and effective partnership between religious and dialogue institutions and civil society institutions so that they will have a unified voice against all forms of hate speech practices by any party.
Ninth: Sending a unified message to the political actors in the international community about the need to unify all efforts to support oppressed peoples who suffer from hate speech and genocide. There is a need to speak out; protest, for rejection, solidarity, and even seeking through all possible means to help; when persecution or hatred occurs from one party against another, regardless of religion or gender.