Religion

Fearless Young Women and Insensitive Men

On October 11, the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee announced that this year´s Peace Prize is awarded to Ethiopia´s prime minister Abiy Ahmed: “For his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.”1 Let us hope that Abiy remains a worthy Peace Prize winner and that warfare and human suffering on the Horn of Africa will finally come to an end.

Governments & Internet Companies Fail to meet Challenges of Online Hate

The prevalence of online hate poses challenges to everyone, first and foremost the marginalised individuals who are its principal targets. Unfortunately, States and companies are failing to prevent ‘hate speech’ from becoming the next ‘fake news’, an ambiguous and politicised term subject to governmental abuse and company discretion.

How Media Technocrats Manipulate Public Opinion

In a 1974 article, Woody Allen poked fun at biblical stories presenting ludicrous paraphrases of The Book of Job, Abraham´s intended sacrifice of his son Isaac, as well as The Book of Proverbs. One of Allen´s invented proverbs was: “The wicked at heart probably know something”, thus implementing that the “pure of heart”, i.e. credulous people, know nothing. 1

Why We Need Religion More than Ever in the Pursuit of Peace

The proliferation of political crises and armed conflicts in every corner of the world does not exclude religious groups, which unfortunately also contribute to animosities, intolerance and hatred. The Middle East has been on the hit-list of violet extremist groups for decades. One telling example is Syria where clashes have on occasion taken religious or denominational overtones, fracturing Syrian society for decades to come. They have given rise to sectarian divisions along ethnic and religious lines in a country where inter-religious harmony once prevailed. We observe a similar situation in Iraq. In Myanmar, government security forces unleased a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing and hatred against the Muslim Rohingya population. The military crackdown on the Rohingya community has significantly aggravated inter-communal violence in the country. And in the Central African Republic, armed militant groups sloganizing misrepresentations of Islam and Christianity, commit abuses and human rights violations on each other on a daily basis.

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.

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