Against the backdrop of rising hate crimes around the world, the United Nations, faith communities and religious leaders have been called upon to do more to prevent the increasingly toxic environment in which hate speech and hate crimes are witnessed. United Nations Secretary General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng; GNRC Secretary General, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali; Principal Representative of the Bahá’í International Community to the United Nations, Ms. Bani Dugal; Associate Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis, Rabbi Diana Gerson; and the Political Affairs Officer, United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, Ms. Simona Cruciani; called on for more work to be done on prevention of hate crimes.
The experts were speaking during a forum organized by The Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities (IAFSC) on 20th September 2019 in New York, USA. They cautioned that if the causes and multipliers of hate crimes were not urgently addressed, more violence was bound to affect communities, thus complicating ongoing efforts to resolve long-standing conflicts. Dr. Mustafa Ali stated, “religion was being misused on account of greed, on account of hate, on account of ignorance and on account of fear,” and riding on transformative information and communication technologies.
Ms. Bani Dugal presented instances of discrimination against, and exclusion of the Bahá’í community, terming such behavior and actions as hateful, disturbing and a major concern to all. Rabbi Diana Gerson underlined the, “need to create opportunities for individuals and communities to come together, to dispel the myths, to know your neighbor, to understand who is sitting next to you,” in order to address hate. Speaking on the need to work with children, the GNRC Secretary General stated that, “If we are not going to begin with children… then we are not going to realize true peace in this world.”
Mr. Adama Dieng, reiterated the important role faith leaders played to ensure a return to basics, where love and compassion, respect for the sanctity of life and the human dignity were all encouraged at all times. Simona Cruciani explained the mandate of the United Nations system in focusing on early warning signs and informing the Secretary General for appropriate action.
The IAFSC is focusing on ‘Hate in Our Communities’ in a series of workshops, alongside the ‘Dignity of the Child’ to build more peaceful communities around the world.
For more information about the IAFSC please visit https://iafsc.org/