13 September, 20142 Comments 58 Reports
The No Hate Speech Movement is organising a European Action Day against Islamophobia and Religious Intolerance on 21 September 2014. We invite our activists, followers and partners to report online hate speech and content, especially when targeting groups of people based on their religion or belief. The online survey of the Council of Europe (2012) showed that Muslims are the second most targeted group by hate speech online in Europe. Hence the need to address this issue in our campaign. For details of recommended actions click on the Action Day button on the main page of this site.
In its resolution 1743 (2010), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recalls that “discrimination against Muslims is unacceptable and must be combated. A great majority of European Muslims share the principles at the basis of our societies and it is essential to fight against Islamophobia, which stems mainly from lack of awareness and from negative perceptions associating Islam with violence. Failing to address these issues, many European governments pave the way to the rise of extremism.”Islamophobia and Discrimination against Muslims, including hate speech, are not just about Islam or Muslim communities: they are first and foremost about a discrimination-free, human rights based society and culture. The violation of anybody’s human rights is a threat to everyone’s human rights. Tolerating hate speech and discrimination against Muslims – or against any other religion - undermines the value framework upon which democracy and human rights are built.Taking action on this day is, therefore, not about liking or supporting Islam: it means that we stand for everyone’s freedom of religion and belief (including the right to not believe).Islamophobia, meaning an irrational fear of Islam, Muslims and matters pertaining to them, is not a new phenomenon. It is in fact an ancient form of prejudice that has recently become a topical issue due to the devastating effect it is having on the lives of Muslims, especially those Muslims who live in minority communities. The present situation feeds on strong and deep-rooted prejudice in most European societies regarding Islam.Some of the most common forms of discrimination against Muslims are the lack of official recognition as a religion, the non-granting of permission to build mosques or the non-provision of facilities or support to Muslim religious groups or communities. Ignorance about Islam is the main reason for Islamophobia. Islam is often associated only with terrorism and extremism. In fact, Islam is a religion that preaches tolerance, solidarity and love for each other, like many religions do. One of the most common prejudices about Islam is its so-called "incompatibility" with human rights. This prejudice often stems from the reality of countries where Islam is the majority religion, mostly Arab countries. The absence of democracy and widespread violations of human rights are given as examples of this "incompatibility". The prejudice lies in considering Islam as the only contributing factor for these situations, when in fact most of the regimes in question are simply undemocratic. Applied to Christian countries, this would be the equivalent of making Christian religions responsible for the previous dictatorships in Portugal, Spain or Greece, for example, and then to conclude that Christianity is incompatible with human rights and with democracy (from Compass, Manual for Human Rights Education with Young People).21 September is celebrate worldwide as International Day of Peace. In 2013 we joined hands with the Peace One Day initiative and drew attention to the negative effect of hate speech on a culture of peace and, especially, on vulnerable groups that are targets of hate speech and violence.The focus on Islamophobia and Religious Intolerance In 2014 pursues this same approach, especially today that religious diversity is pointed out as a source of conflict. There can be no peace if we accept to live with intolerance and one of its most common manifestations: hate speech. In September the Movement is aiming to advocate for peaceful coexistence with different religious beliefs by showing the social and cultural contributions of different religions in Europe, to share good examples and practices of understanding, recognition and cooperation among different religious groups, to raise awareness about the dangers and risks of religious hate speech, to provide facts and information about different religions with special focus on Islam, and to invite people to express their tolerance towards other religions.