How Should Responsible Religious Leaders React to Hate Speech in their Community?

Mohamed Elewa Badar, Rana Moustafa Essawy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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While religious leaders were commonly referred to as inciters of hatred, their significant role as human rights actors has been receiving increased attention in the last decade. In 2012, the Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence – a result of four regional expert workshops organized by the United Nations (‘UN’) Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (‘OHCHR’) in 2011– articulated three core responsibilities for religious leaders in combatting hate speech: “(a) Religious leaders should refrain from using messages of in-tolerance or expressions which may incite violence, hostility or discrimination; (b) Religious leaders also have a crucial role to play in speaking out firmly and promptly against intolerance, discriminatory stereotyping and instances of hate speech; and (c) Religious leaders should be clear that violence can never be tolerated as a response to incitement to hatred (for example, violence cannot be justified by prior provocation)”.

It is the purpose of this Chapter to concretize those actions and to sketch out other measures that could be used by religious leaders in combatting hate speech within their communities. This will be done through a commonsensical approach, which observes the various roles assumed by religious leaders and deduces from them measures that they could use to combat hate speech. It is necessary to emphasize in that context that this chapter will focus on religious leaders in Muslim communities, owing to the authors’ religious identity. Nevertheless, we share the Beirut participants’ deep conviction that “all respective religions and beliefs share a common commitment to upholding the dignity and the equal worth of all human beings” and thus we believe that the internal measures suggested in this Chapter can be generalized to be used by religious leaders belonging to other religions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion, Hateful Expression and Violence
EditorsMorten Bergsmo, Kishan Manocha
Place of PublicationBrussels, Belgium
PublisherTorkel Opsahl Academic EPublishers
Number of pages43
ISBN (Electronic)9788283481426
ISBN (Print)9788283481419
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2023

Publication series

NamePublication Series
PublisherTorkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher


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