On Monday, September 27, Member of Upper House of Parliament Dr. Mohammad Momani deputized for His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi Ibn Muhammad, chief adviser for religious and cultural affairs and personal envoy of His Majesty King Abdullah II, in patronizing the opening of the two-day conference titled, “Journalists Against Hate” which is organized by the Muslim Council of Elders and the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan.
In an opening address, Dr. Momani said that the most important challenges currently facing our nation, our religion, and the human civilization are the spread of hate speeches and ignoring the values of tolerance and peace. He pointed out that the Jordanian and Hashemite roles were present in the most prestigious and international forums with regards to intellectual, cultural and political aspects. He added that His Majesty King Abdullah II was all the time available in explaining the values of religion, defending Muslims and their cultural heritage in all parts of the world, and combating the spread of the phenomenon of “Islamophobia” in non-Muslim societies.
He continued that Jordan had earlier presented several initiatives to spread tolerance, harmony, brotherhood, solidarity and cooperation to demonstrate the true and bright image of moderate and tolerant Islam. Noting that the “Amman Message” was consequently launched, he said that it was translated into dozens of languages and led to convening relevant annual conferences. He also said that Jordan adopted the “Common Word Between Us and You” initiative in 2007, which calls for dialogue among cultures and religions and for consolidating the values of tolerance, humanity, solidarity and cooperation. Furthermore, Dr. Momani stressed that the United Nations, at the suggestion of Jordan, adopted the “Interfaith Harmony Week” initiative in 2010 which calls for spreading harmony, love and peace among religions and cultures, so as to promote a system of universal human values that consolidate peace and love.
For his part, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Elders Dr. Sultan Faisal Al-Rumaithi, said that His Majesty King Abdullah II and the successive Hashemite leaders, are keen to establish a unique model of common living and tolerance for everyone who resides in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He added that the efforts of the Muslim Council of Elders, which seek to create a media coalition, aims at combating hate speech and discrimination in the Arab media, whether on the Internet or otherwise by enhancing ethical standards, and activating press charters to uphold human dignity in an era when we are witnessing speeches of hate coinciding with bleak crises sweeping the world including asylum, displacement, discrimination and epidemics.
CCSM Director Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader said the heinous terrorism that threatens the security of people, whether in the east or west, in the north and the south, and haunts them with fear and terror while anticipating the worst outcome, is not a product of religion even if the terrorists raise its banners and wear its insignia. Stressing that it is the outcome of an accumulation of misunderstanding of religious texts as well as the policies of hunger, poverty, and oppression, he underlined the need to expedite the cessation of support for terrorist movements with money, weapons, and planning, or by providing them with media coverage.
He also indicated that the CCSM has taken upon itself to spread the spirit of joy, solidarity and optimism in the hearts of people by live-streaming religious Holy Masses from churches that were empty of people and full of love during the lockdowns caused by the spread of Corona pandemic. Fr. Bader recalled the speech of His Majesty King Abdullah II a few days ago at the United Nations in which he referred to Jerusalem, as saying, “noble Jerusalem is in the heart of peace, it is a holy city for billions of people around the world.”
A FELICITOUS CONFERENCE
This conference is felicitous because this seems to be the right time to promote the efforts exerted in the fight against hate speeches, as the conference aims at creating an Arab media trend that believes in the humanitarian responsibility of media and its role in fighting hate, as well as eliminating extremism and discrimination. Furthermore, it seeks to continue on the path set out at the ‘Arab Media Convention for Human Fraternity’ which was held in February 2020 in Abu Dhabi and produced the ‘Media Code of Ethics for Human Fraternity’.
The conference holds several sessions, while hosting several prominent Arab media personalities from various mediums that discuss important issues including hatred in the Arab media and the prospects for overcoming it, the image of the Arabs in the Western media, in addition to hate speeches on social media, and the containment of the “hate epidemic” which coincided with the outbreak of the Corona epidemic.
The CCSM has all the time been an ardent supporter of efforts designed to ensure a real and effective role of media outlets, particularly the modern and the socially-interactive ones, in the dissemination of truth and the verification its validity by focusing on the fight against hate speeches and reporting as well as in defense of the truth particularly at difficult and confusing times.
On June 18-19, 2019 the CCSM–in cooperation with the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the East, and the Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation among Religious Leaders and Institutions in the Arab World– held an international conference titled, “Media and their role in defending the truth.”
The highlight of the conference was the launching of “The Media Code of Ethics’’ which focused on the proper use of social media networking sites as well as on serving morality and respect for human dignity on the one hand in addition to ensuring the dignity of religions and religious symbols of the other.
The CCSM has all the time sought to strengthen inter-religious dialogue, establish relations with people who live the diaspora, promote religion in the service of peace, and encourage pilgrimage to Jordan in its capacity as part of the Holy Land. The CCSM serves as a regional oasis that disseminates love and understanding among the various components of the Jordanian society. It furthermore urges the attainment of cordiality and friendship between Muslims and Christians, thus it organized and participated in a number of relevant conferences, seminars and workshops that fight discrimination, hate speeches and reporting with the hope of maintaining societies where all its children work hand-in-hand for the perpetuity of common living and conviviality.
By Munir Bayouk