Bahrain - Government entities are working on a comprehensive set of laws and regulations to combat hate speech on the basis of religion or belief, revealed Foreign Minister Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani yesterday.
He added that the implementation process will also focus on raising awareness about religious freedom, and to spread a culture of tolerance and religious coexistence in the society via religious platforms and the media.
This is in addition to criminalising incitement to hatred, sectarianism, extremism, or terrorism.
The minister was delivering the opening speech at the Freedom of Religion Conference held at the Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention and Spa.The three-day conference, being held under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad, ends today.
“Bahrain maintains its civilisational identity as a home for all religious sects, which practise their rituals and beliefs with freedom and confidence, and this reflects the interconnectedness of the social fabric of Bahraini society,” said Dr Al Zayani.
“In Bahrain, as everyone knows, mosques and churches, a Hindu temple, a Sikh temple, and a synagogue for the Jewish community, are located next to each other in harmony and in a framework of friendliness and brotherhood.”
Dr Al Zayani added that the government is keen to further enhance the environment of religious and intellectual freedom in the kingdom.“In this context, the relevant ministries are working to implement a comprehensive set of laws, regulations, and procedures necessary to combat hate speech on the basis of religion or belief.
“They are also working to raise awareness of religious freedom, and to spread a culture of tolerance and religious co-existence in society through religious platforms and the media.”
He added that Bahrain was keen to consolidate a culture of tolerance, coexistence, and brotherhood.The minister highlighted that under the directives of His Majesty, Bahrain adopted several important projects and initiatives, foremost of which are the launch of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity, the establishment of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence, the King Hamad Academy for Cyber Peace, the King Hamad Chair in Inter-Faith Dialogue and Peaceful Coexistence at the Italian University of Sapienza, and the Kingdom of Bahrain Declaration on religious tolerance.
Themed ‘Broadening the Tent: Freedom of Religion and Belief’, the conference has been organised by This is Bahrain Society in co-operation with the European Union and King Hamad Centre for Global Coexistence.An exhibition on the sidelines of the conference in which various ministries and a number of civil society institutions are participating also opened yesterday.
Leading policy and decision makers in Bahrain, the European Union and representatives of civil society are taking part in the conference which aims at establishing the foundations of an organised dialogue to deepen the common understanding of freedom of religions and beliefs.
“Bahrain’s long experience as a regional trade centre has given Bahrainis a unique understanding of the value of co-operation and dialogue between all religions and communities, and the benefits to society,” said Dr Al Zayani.
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