It is time for hate speeches to come to an end

Posted on Dec 4, 2019

By Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader

There are terms that we reject even if we are not aware of their true meanings. But, their mere mentioning causes self-revulsion and gives the readers a strong feeling of repugnance, and distaste for mere mentioning them. These terms produce “hate speeches” that bring two opposites together: the goodness speech–which is discourse that serves as a sign of communication between the speaker and the listener – and the hatred speech eliminates love that God entrusted human beings with.

 

There is no uniform legal definition of hate speech, but the United Nations has adopted a common general definition. It is a “kind of communication” in speech, writing, or behavior that serves to disparage or slander a person or a group of people on the basis of their identity, religion, ethnicity, nationality, origin, color, race, gender, or others. This attitude may inflict damage that could snowball, if not treated, into hate crimes targeting marginalized groups.

Are there communities immune to this speech? Definitely not. What actually led to this conclusion is the spread of social media or social networking sites, which unfortunately became the main platforms for hate speeches, so instead of being sites for communication they often became battlegrounds.

And how can treatment be fulfilled? We–as leaders of opinion, of religions, intellectuals, people of media and arts, as well as education–must work together in two directions, namely treatment of all those who fell in the trap of hate speech by restoring the concept of accepting others. This requires profound educational and religious vision so as to eliminate the venomous ideas that managed to harm the minds of several people.

The second direction requires protecting the future generations from being victims to such social scourges that emanate from people, from the abusive posts, from behavior, from looks, and from gestures.

The generations of people to come in the future have a right not to be victims of harmful speech. This can be done by training them in the meaning of pluralism as well as the need to accept and cooperate with others, share with them their sad and joyful events. As an example, as we are on the threshold of celebrating Christmas and the new year, it is necessary and desirable to instill in our children the mentality of wishing well the others and our neighbors on their feasts that they mark because the term “happy anniversary” means a lot as it enriches communities with further intimacy, affection and peace.

What remains to be said is that the hate speeches are the root cause of the discourse of ignorance, since whoever is unaware of the others, or knows mere rumors and missing information levels accusations, insults and wishes evil thoughts. The genuine knowledge of others makes one always utter words of goodness and blessing to all people without exception.