Saudi Arabia calls for global action on hate speech

Saudi Ambassador to the UN Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Wasel, right, speaks at the UN in Geneva. (File photo)
Updated 20 March 2019
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Saudi Arabia calls for global action on hate speech

  • Saudi Ambassador to the UN made the call following the “cowardly” slaughter of 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand
  • March 15 to be declared international day for combating Islamophobia: ISESCO

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has called for urgent action from the international community to tackle hate speech and promote tolerance in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand.

In an address to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the UN, Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Wasel, said last Friday’s “cowardly” slaughter of 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch went against all religious and coexistence values.

Al-Wasel told council members that the incident was part of a series of racist and ethnic events nourished by a culture of hatred, racism, violence, terrorism, extremism and Islamophobia, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“We must unite and stand together to fight the hatred and extremism that causes the killing of innocents,” Al-Wasel said.

He pointed out that in some countries hate speech was tolerated on political and media platforms in the context of representing freedom of opinion and expression. But he said such speeches fueled racist tendencies toward religious minorities and migrants, while also propagating extremism and increasing tensions against Muslims, immigrants and other minority groups.

On behalf of the Kingdom, the envoy urged all states to clamp down on extremist voices and enact laws and policies calling for tolerance and acceptance within the framework of the UN’s Durban Declaration and Program of Action.

Meanwhile, Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Osman Al-Tuwaijiri, director general of the Islamic, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), has called on the international community to proclaim March 15 an international day for combating Islamophobia.

He warned against the growth of extremism and hate speech despite efforts over the past three decades in the field of dialogue among cultures.

“Saudi Arabia has consistently declared its rejection of terrorism in all its forms,” Al-Tuwaijiri told Arab News. 

He added that King Salman inaugurated the Riyadh-based Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (GCCEI), which aims to promote moderation and counter the spread of extremism.

“Saudi Arabia has provided substantial financial support to the UN to strengthen its efforts in fight against terrorism,” he said.

He said that Islamophobia has become an international phenomenon with international spinoffs and harmful repercussions for the rights, security and safety of Muslim citizens in countries outside the Islamic world.

Al-Tuwaijiri added that governments and regional and international organizations are invited to intensify their efforts to fight this phenomenon that jeopardizes international peace and security, and said that it runs against the principles of the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international declarations, agreements and conventions, especially Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

He called for efforts to be intensified to fight the trend and to promote a culture of dialogue, understanding, harmony, peaceful coexistence and alliance among the followers of different religions and cultures.

Al-Tuwaijiri further called on the international community to fight the phenomenon because it not only targets Muslims and Islam, but also the human values that preach mutual respect and coexistence.


Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Al-Ohali, rector of King Faisal University (KFU) in Al-Ahsa

Updated 21 September 2019
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Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Al-Ohali, rector of King Faisal University (KFU) in Al-Ahsa

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Al-Ohali has been the rector of King Faisal University (KFU) in Al-Ahsa since April 2017. 

He is also a member of the board of trustees of Prince Sultan University in Riyadh. Previously, he served as the dean of the faculty of graduate studies at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Dhahran. 

He also was the vice dean of graduate studies, the undersecretary in charge of the deanship of scientific research, and the general coordinator of the Basic and Applied Research Program in the Research Institute at KFUPM.

Al-Ohali was the director of Aafaq (Horizons), a 25-year plan to improve higher education opportunities for women, boost scientific research and tackle the Kingdom’s shortage of scientists in critical fields. The initiative was announced in 2009 by the Education Ministry.

He holds a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the US, and has participated in more than 40 research papers.

On the occasion of Saudi National Day, Al-Ohali said all KFU staff members and students are “proud of the history of their country, and they are happy with the services provided to them in their university, including equipment and technologies that allow them to reach opportunities of academic and scientific excellence.”

He praised the Saudi government’s support and care for the KFU since its establishment in 1975.