It’s time to stop hate crimes

  • | Monday, 7 March, 2022
It’s time to stop hate crimes

     All people are born free and equal in terms of dignity and rights. All notions of racial superiority and the so-called distinct human races are not tolerated and must be strongly rejected and be considered legally and morally wrong. The term "hate crimes" has recently become so common. This term consists of two parts: hate and crime. The word "hate" in this context does not relate to passion, anger or even hatred in its general sense; rather it has to do with prejudice against individuals or groups with specific characteristics. The word "crime" here refers to violent reactions, such as assault, murder and sabotage.

          Governments need to collect meaningful and accurate data on hate crimes, its causes and the number of victims to enable policymakers to protect vulnerable populations. According to statistics on hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales, in year ending in March 2021, there were 124,091 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, excluding Greater Manchester Police who did not supply data, marking a 9 percent increase compared with the previous year.

In a step to combat Islamophopia and hate crimes in Ontario, Canada, an opposition bill proposed by the New Democrats aimed at fighting Islamphobia and other hate crimes on February 23rd, but it was unclear if it would receive the support of the majority Progressive Conservative government. The New Democrats said their bill, if passed, would establish a provincial review of hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents that happen in Ontario. It would also designate safe zones around Houses of Worship, prevent white supremacist groups from registering as societies, and establish an anti-racism council that would provide input on government policies. The bill would also present new tools for schools to combat racism.

The battle against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance remains far from over as world peace, social coexistence and human rights continue to be threatened by the recurrence of incidents of hate crimes in many places all over the world fueled by global escalation of hate speech in political and ideological discourse, especially against immigrants because of their differences in religion, culture, color, gender and race. All forms of racial discrimination based on political or ideological trends that incite hostility, discrimination or violence must be regarded as a serious crime punishable under national and international law, without prejudice to the rights guaranteed to freedom of speech as provided under international human rights conventions.  Xenophobic attitudes and negative stereotypes of non-citizens by politicians, law enforcement officials and immigration officials in many countries as well as hatred propagated on social networks have led to violence and hatred against immigrants, refugees and ethnic and religious minorities. Hate crimes have a psychological impact not only on the victim, but also on the group to which they belong. They further result in anxiety and fear of their recurrence. 

Al-Azhar Observatory for Combatting Extremism has frequently affirmed that respecting diversity is necessary for the progress of societies, and that cultural diversity must be respected, accepted and cherished as a human right. The Observatory has warned that the dissemination of messages of hatred and incitement to violence against certain groups within society is totally unacceptable from religious and social perspectives, in contravention of the teachings of all religions that promote tolerance and peace, and is incompatible with the communal security and stability.  It is inconceivable to say that hate crimes of all kinds can be completely erased, but with the hard and sincere work of institutions and individuals, much lower rates can be reached over time. Hatred is an attitude rejected by all divine religions. Islam in particular urges us to respect the other and their beliefs and forbids us from harming or abusing them in any way.







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