Ethopia hosts conference on hate speech and violence

2016-05-10 Vatican Radio

A two day forum exploring the role of religious leaders in Africa in preventing hate crime and atrocities, is taking place in Addis Abada, Ethiopia.

Religious leaders from across Africa have gathered for the forum, which is co-sponsored by the Office of the UN Special Advisor on the prevention of Genocide, the World Council of Churches and the King Abdulla bin Abdulaziz Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).

Pax Christi International, the Centre for Security Studies, Swisspeace, and the Federal Institute of Technnology in Zurich are also attending the conference.

The participants are addressing the dramatic rise in atrocities perpetrated by both State and Non State actors in recent years. A chief area of concern is the rise in hate speech that often incites violence. The participants are examining what effect the religious leaders in Africa can have on preventing the violence. In particular, the effect and influence of these leaders over their communities is being carefully examined.

In a statement on it’s website the KAICIID says “At the meeting, participants will learn to recognize what constitutes incitement, identify best practices and lessons learned by peer religious leaders and actors for the prevention of incitement and examine ways in which religious actors can act fast and decisively to identify, counteract and prevent incitement, particularly in situations where there is an imminent risk of violence.”

Although the primary aim is develop a strategy to prevent the rise of extremism in Africa, special focus is also being given to the need to prevent radicalisation of young people in the Middle East and in Europe. The roles and influence of religious leaders in this prevention will also be considered, especially with regards to rehabilitating and reintegrating into society those who come back from conflict areas.

(John Waters)


(from Vatican Radio)