Larsa Organization (Larsa CC) conducted a workshop titled “Combat Hate Speech,” in cooperation with Masarat for Cultural and Media Development, and sponsored by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung of Germany.
Hate speech is fueling hate crimes and violence towards minorities and marginalized groups. It challenges the cohesion of any society, the protection of human rights, and the rule of law. Therefore, combating hate speech should serve to protect all individuals and groups rather than particular beliefs, ideologies, or religions. The workshop highlighted the requirements of effective confrontation of hate speech, including the recognition of the importance of freedom of expression, tolerance, and respect for equal dignity. Also, the involvement and commitment of a wide range of private and civil society actors, in addition to public ones, is necessary.
Twenty participants from different religious traditions and ethnic groups were trained on how to observe, monitor, and analyze hate speech in Iraq. They were equipped with techniques and knowledge that will help in countering misinformation, negative stereotyping, and stigmatization in media.
Mr. Bassam Al-Alawchi, chairman of Larsa Organization in Basra, facilitated the training workshop. It was attended by the chairman of the Minority Committee in Basra Governorate Council, along with religious leaders, journalists, and civil society activists. This workshop contained presentations, open discussions, and focus group discussions, and concluded with recommendations including:
1. To raise public awareness of the importance of respecting pluralism and of the dangers posed by hate speech.
2. To provide support for those targeted by hate speech, both individually and collectively.
3. To hold a chain of similar workshops to raise awareness of ways to combat hate speeches among communities.
Larsa CC is a non-profit organization, working on peacebuilding and conflict transformation as part of their action areas. The mission of Larsa is to spread the spirit of citizenship and preserve the heritage of pluralism across the involvement of the youth of various components to build the unity and diversity of Iraq.