Religion

The Syrian Tragedy

As I often do, I recently discussed the Syrian Civil War with a friend of Lebanese origin. He is far from supporting the Syrian regime, which occupied his country of origin between 1989-2008. My friend assumes the Syrian government was behind the assassination of Lebanon´s prime minister Bachir Gemayel, who in 1982 together with 26 others were blown to pieces by a bomb planted at the headquarters of the Lebanese Forces. He also suspects Syria was behind the death of former prime minister Rafik Harari, who in 2005 was killed in a car bomb explosion. However, this does not make my friend an admirer of Israel or the U.S., which together with Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia meddle in Syria´s bloody internal strife. It is an almost impossible task to disentangle the mess of warring fractions guided by corrupt politicians, religious fanatics, liberal politicians, bandits, Mafiosi and/or foreign commercial and strategical stakeholders.

On Brutality of Violence Against Women

On a cold night in December 2012, a ghastly crime was committed in New Delhi which stunned the world. Six men dragged helpless Nirbhaya-a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern- to the back of the bus and raped her one by one. As she kept fighting off her assailants by biting them, one of the attackers inserted a rusted rod in her private part, ripping her genital organs and insides apart. She died a few days later. One of the accused died in police custody in the Tihar Jail. The juvenile was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years' imprisonment in a reform facility, and subsequently released. The Supreme Court awarded the death penalty but legal complications have prevented its execution.

Migration and Human Solidarity

The migrant and refugee crisis has become a serious test for the unity of Europe as a political project. The inflow of destitute migrants and refugees has tested Europe’s political unity to an unprecedented extent. With a long-term solution to the migrant and refugee crisis nowhere in sight, the adverse impact of the current situation has the potential to unfold further and to give rise to a broader crisis with long-term implications, affecting Europe and the MENA region alike.

Free Speech and the Hong Kong Protests

Sometime in the summer of 1974, I was leaning against the gunwale of the ferry between Calais and Dover, watching the moonlight streaming dark waters. When I turned to the left I found that a Chinese lady also looked out over the calm sea. What she told me changed my world view.

The Role of Education in Breaking down the Walls of Ignorance

Education constitutes an important building block to enhance inter-faith dialogue, cultural exchange between ethnic and linguistic groups, counter violent extremist narratives and promote peaceful and inclusive societies. The founder of Modern India, Mahatma Gandhi, once said:

Women Are Pivotal in the War on Terror

On 10 July 2019 I was honored to moderate a meeting with women’s groups for the UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres, whose aim was to better diagnose the role of women in the prevention or instigation of violent extremism.

International conference in Vienna: Successful societies are those that manage diversity and stimulate empathy towards the Other

Societies must work together to build more tolerance, solidarity and peace within and between nations, said the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, Ambassador Idriss Jazairy, during the 19 June international conference on "From Interfaith, Inter-Civilizational Cooperation to Human Solidarity.” He emphasized that all such societies are built on shared aspirations and not shared ethnicity.

International conference in Vienna: Executive Director of the Geneva Centre meets with officials of Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates, religious leaders and civil society representatives

Following the 19 June international conference on “From the Interfaith and Inter-Civilizational Cooperation to Human Security” held in Vienna, the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Ambassador Idriss Jazairy concluded his visit to Austria with a series of meetings with government officials and decision makers.

Conference in Vienna: Executive Director of the Geneva Centre received by the Chairman of the Caucasus Muslims’ Board and the Director of the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna

In relation to the organization by the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue together with its partners in Vienna on the theme of “From the Interfaith and Inter-Civilizational Cooperation to Human Security”, the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre Ambassador Idriss Jazairy participated in several high-level meetings in Vienna.

The Art of the Deal: What Trump May Teach Us

A friend of mine who became wealthy as an art dealer but eventually lost his fortune told me: "Money isn´t everything, but it helps." This made me think of Donald Trump, who likes to describe himself as an entrepreneur, i.e. ”owner of a business enterprise who, by risk and initiative, attempts to make profits."1 The keyword is profits. According to Trump, success is measured through wealth. Like chess and poker, entrepreneurship is about winning and losing. Trump characterizes people he dislikes as losers, while he considers himself to be a winner.

“We need to move beyond mere tolerance and towards empathy to truly celebrate cultural diversity,” says the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre

On the occasion of the 2019 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, commemorated annually on 21 May, the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, Ambassador Idriss Jazairy, calls for the celebration of cultural diversity which is a common heritage.

Does God Hate Women? A Bangladeshi Murder Case

On 6 April, nineteen-year-old Nusrat Jahan Rafi was by a fellow student brought to the roof of their school. She told Nusrat that a friend of hers was beaten up there. Unknown to Nusrat, Moni who was four months pregnant at the time, had earlier bought burqas and gloves for three of the men who were awaiting them on the roof. Another girl, Umma, was already there beckoning Nusrat to come up. However, when Nusrat entered the roof Umma threw her down and tied her legs. The burqa-dressed men surrounded the defenseless Nusrat, demanding her to withdraw accusations of sexual harassment against the schools´headmaster. When Nusrat refused to give in, one of the men held her head down, while another poured kerosene over her and set her on fire.

The Burning of Notre Dame and the Spirit of Place

The catastrophic fire in Notre Dame produced a massive emotional reaction. In a Paris famous for its secularism tearful people knelt on the pavement, sang the Ave Maria and prayed to God to save their cathedral. Several stated that it was not only a church burning, but the soul of Paris passing away. What did they mean to say?

Fifth World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue: Executive Director of the Geneva Centre refers to the pioneering role of the UAE in hosting in Abu Dhabi the historic visit of HH Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar His Eminence Ahmed Al-Tayib

(Geneva Centre) - At the Fifth World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue held from 2-3 May 2019 in Baku, the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Ambassador Idriss Jazairy paid tribute to the inspiring role of the United Arab Emirates in hosting the historic meeting of 4 February 2019 between HH Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar His Eminence Ahmad Al-Tayib and which led to the adoption of the Joint Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.

Executive Director of the Geneva Centre received by the Chairman of the Caucasus Muslims Board His Virtue Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh

(Geneva Centre) - The Head of the Religious Community in Azerbaijan His Virtue Shaikh-ul Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh invited the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Ambassador Idriss Jazairy to a private audience in his residence in Baku.

Terror and Religion

Just before nine o´clock in the morning of April 21st, Christians in Sri Lanka were in their churches peacefully celebrating Easter Sunday, while tourists were waking up in their hotel rooms. Suddenly explosions blasted three churches and three hotels. Among the ruins lay hundreds of wounded people, as well as 253 corpses of men, women and children. They had been killed and maimed because some fellow human beings believed they acted in God´s name and out of promises of an unproven, heavenly bliss if they killed themselves after obliterating people they did not know; sowing death, lifelong suffering and sorrow.

Religion & Development: An Enhanced Approach or a Transaction?

Since 2008, a number of articles/opinions have been written, on the nexus between religion and development. In chronological order, the articles first made the case for why ‘religion matters’ to the attainment of developmental objectives, noting how religious leaders are critical to changing social norms which can be in contradiction to human rights, and noting the extent to which faith-based organisations (FBOs) have anyway served as the original social service providers known to human kind.

Words Matter: Trump and the Massacres in Christchurch

These lyrics are from Fire, the only hit by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, which in 1968 sold over one million singles. Brenton Tarrant played it in his car while he triumphantly left the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. He had just gunned down around 100 unarmed worshippers and was on his way to another mosque to continue the slaughter before Friday prayers ended on 15 March. His murderous rampage finished by the Linwood Islamic Centre, where he could not find the entrance. He shut a man and his wife, whom he encountered outside the building and then shattered a window with a hail of bullets, killing five more inside, while he shouted that everyone had to leave the mosque. A courageous shop keeper rushed out and throw a credit card reader at Tarrant, who rushed back to his car followed by the shop keeper, who shattered the windshield with a handgun he had picked up from the ground. Tarrant run away, but was almost immediately restrained by police who had been able to trace him.

‘We must all work together to defeat hatred and xenophobic discourse against the Other and nurture acceptance and empathy,’ say eminent panellists in a conference held at the UN

(Geneva Centre)– The rise of exclusionary politics and xenophobic discourses can only be addressed by embracing diversity and promoting empathy between people, it was concluded in a panel debate held yesterday at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

”As global citizens, we cannot turn a blind eye to the increasing spread of hatred and intolerance”

(Geneva Centre) - The 2019 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and this year’s theme devoted to tolerance, empathy towards the Other and celebration of diversity, comes at a timely moment. Religions, Creeds and Value Systems: Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights.” The conference sought to capitalize on the fundamental convergence of religions, creeds and value systems to mitigate the marginalization of communities worldwide with the goal of eliminating xenophobia and all forms of intolerance. The conference produced an outcome declaration aimed at moving towards greater spiritual convergence to support equal citizenship rights and resulted in a consensual global vision to promote this goal. The Geneva Centre will shortly be issuing a two-volume publication on the world conference. The Geneva Centre wishes on this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to join hands with all those involved in such a noble endeavor.

Statement by HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal and Idriss Jazairy* following the terrorist attacks in New Zealand, March 15th 2019

Words cannot express adequately the pain and anguish we feel at the heinous attacks in New Zealand. We share the anguish of our fellow Muslims at those who have orchestrated such diabolical carnage in a place of prayer. As husbands, fathers and grandfathers, both of us can only imagine the pain and suffering felt by the families affected by this tragedy. In the weeks and months ahead, we must all stand together and raise aloft those values that must form the core of Islamic belief that we share with People of the Book– compassion, respect and dignity. If we fail in this, then terror is victorious.

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