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‘Path ahead has been charted’, Prince Hassan says in message to UN panel on combating extremism

By JT - Mar 25,2019 - Last updated at Mar 25,2019

AMMAN — A panel debate on diversity and extremism recently concluded on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council’s 40th regular session at the UN Office in Geneva, according to a statement sent to The Jordan Times.

The meeting, titled: “Celebration of diversity: beyond tolerance the path towards empathy”, was organised by the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue and the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to UN Geneva. The meeting coincided with the 2019 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

In a message of support to the co-organisers of the debate, HRH Prince Hassan appealed to Christians and Muslims to raise their collective voices in condemnation of terrorist and violent extremist attacks like the ones witnessed in Christchurch, New Zealand. “Terrorism has no nationality and religion but is an aberration that can be stimulated by irresponsible political discourse thousands of miles away,” Prince Hassan said.

“The terrorist intended to spread fear and hatred. On the contrary, we are here today to send a message of peace, tolerance and human brotherhood,” Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN Obaid Salem Zaabi said in the statement.

Alexander Mejia, director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research’s Division for People and Social Inclusion, spoke of the importance of dialogue in the framework of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is people-centred and where peace and tolerance have been prioritised, he said.

Giving examples from Spain and Fiji, Mejia illustrated successful efforts in combating violent extremism, youth radicalisation and building community resilience. Mejia added that it is crucial to garner the support of public opinion in promoting tolerance and acceptance of others.

Debate moderator and the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director Ambassador Idriss Jazairy noted that the world is “witnessing a rise of exclusionary politics and a vociferous repetition of discourses of division”, adding” “In such a context, diversity is being rejected as an alleged source of weakness.”

The conference focused on the outcome of the visit of Pope Francis and the Great Imam of Al Azhar Sheikh Ahmad Al Tayyib to the United Arab Emirates in February. 

During the visit, a joint document titled, “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”, was adopted on February 4 by the dignitaries, reiterating the importance of faiths upholding equal citizenship rights and the promotion of tolerant and inclusive societies.

Farouk Hamada, spiritual adviser to the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, underlined that the future of humanity lies in the promotion of peace and security and that a tiny minority of terrorist spread fear, hatred and destruction.

A great responsibility therefore rests with religious and lay leaders as well as educational institutions, he added.

In this regard, Malta’s Permanent Observer to UN Marie-Thérèse Pictet-Althann stated that the joint document on human fraternity “Supports the view of citizenship based on equal rights and obligations, demonstrating the need to reject any form of discrimination as well as the term of minority, which brings about sentiments of inferiority and isolation”. 

Ambassador Jazairy also cited the provisions contained in the joint document on human fraternity, stating that it “expresses almost identically” the fundamental values and messages contained in the June 25, 2018 conference on “Moving Towards Greater Spiritual Convergence Worldwide in Support of Equal Citizenship Rights” outcome declaration, which was adopted at the world conference on religions and equal citizenship rights.

This conference was held by the Geneva Centre and its partners in Geneva, under the patronage of Prince Hassan, and received strong support by the UN secretary general, the statement said.

Former permanent representative of Yemen to the UN Ebrahim Adoofi also moved that the meeting address a message of appreciation to the government of New Zealand in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Muslims praying in two mosques in Christchurch on March 15.

The meeting adopted the proposal unanimously and felt that the handling of the aftermath of event stood out as a shining example for the potential of convergence between world religions and a recognition that it is empathy, and not ethnicity, that create and maintain the community, according to the statement.

“The path ahead has thus been charted. Remains the political will to be mustered in order to proceed on a wide front including the global north and the global south,” Prince Hassan concluded in his message.

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