Maat: Community initiatives play a major role in combating hate speech
Okeil: We are working to strengthen civil society in the face of hate speech, as it poses a threat to societal security
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights concluded the first activities of the Project "Peace Builders in Egypt 2: Combating Hate Speech in the Name of Religion", a three-day training course held from 3 to 5 June, in the presence of representatives of Egyptian civil society organizations, with the aim of building the capacity of civil society in Egypt to combat hate speech in the name of religion and to raise the trainees' abilities to develop executive plans for community initiatives and marketing mechanisms. The training focused on how to formulate social initiatives and the methods of monitoring and documenting hate speech before it escalates.
The theoretical part of the Training was centered on "hate speech"; it identified the different forms thereof, highlighted international efforts to combat it, and discussed the "United Nations Strategy", "Document on Human Fraternity" and "Compass Manual". Besides, there was a training on methods of monitoring and documenting hate speech, how to distinguish between it and freedom of expression, and how hate speech is transformed into violent extremism, in addition to taking into account the gender aspect in combating hate speech.
On the other hand, the practical part of the Training focused on community initiatives, and came up with three initiatives; “You Are More Important", which aims to combat hate speech against women and raise awareness of its effects on them through an artistic play; "Creative Fingerprint", which aims to combat hate speech against children in care homes; and "No to Bullying", which aims to implement activities to educate high school students about bullying being one of the most dangerous types of hate speech.
Ayman Okeil, a human rights expert and President of Maat, stated that hate speech, extremism and racism pose a real danger to society, and represent a threat to the values of human rights, tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Believing in the role of civil society in promoting these values and principles, we, at Maat, seek through community initiatives and activities, to promote tolerance and mutual acceptance among members of society, and encourage youth to activate new mechanisms to combat hate speech in the name of religion and stand firm against extremism and terrorism.
It is worth noting that the training course was implemented within the framework of cooperation between the Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights and the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICID), in the framework of strengthening the efforts of the local and international civil society to address phenomena that have a negative impact on society.