Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology
Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, has termed as “realistic” the UAE’s policy on handling incitement to violence.
“The policy takes into consideration the local context and objectives. The UAE has issued a law against any form of discrimination, hate speech and insult to religions to protect the society from hate messages and incitement to violence,” Shaykh Abdallah said, while speaking at an international conference organised by the United Nations to launch the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes.
He spoke about the forum’s efforts and initiatives to prevent the incitement to hatred and violence, including the Marrakesh Declaration on the Rights of Religious Minorities, which the forum issued in 2016.
He stated that the creation of the Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology (I’tidal) in Saudi capital Riyadh was a milestone in the effort to counter the hate rhetoric.
He called on the wise men, elders, statesmen, politicians and lawmakers to review the principle of freedom of expression with a pragmatic approach that would look at the impact on the ground, particularly in the Third World, where hundreds of thousands die as victims of misleading media propaganda, and other destructive religious and ethnic conflicts.
“Religious leaders must take decisive steps to alienate the hate-mongers,” he noted.
The Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes sets out a broad range of ways in which religious leaders can prevent incitement to violence, and contribute to peace and stability.
The Plan of Action is the product of two years of consultations that involved religious leaders and actors representing different faiths, and faith-based organisations around the world.
Known more commonly as the “Fez Plan of Action” after the city in Morocco where it was drafted in 2015, the plan called for the monitoring of incitement, the development of alternative messages, engagement through dialogue, efforts to develop and revise education to include better mainstreaming of appreciation of all cultures, engaging in and strengthening inter-religious and intra-religious dialogue and activities to ensure understanding, respect and communication, engaging in dialogue on grievances, strengthening clarity of message and engaging with political leaders.