RIYADH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will hold a two-day forum in London beginning Saturday for media experts and civil society representatives to explore mechanisms for countering Islamophobia.
The forum has been co-organized with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and hosted by the Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) in London. The two-day event will conclude with recommendations and possible projects for implementation.
Participants will look at the phenomenon of Islamophobia from a legal and human rights perspective, and how it is covered and handled, or promoted in the media, as well as the role of civil society organizations in addressing racial discrimination, hatred and denigration of religions.
Maha Akeel, director of information and communication at the OIC, said that this forum will be held in implementation of the updated OIC anti-Islamophobia media strategy, which was adopted by the 11th session of the OIC Ministers of Information Conference held in Jeddah in December last year.
The OIC media strategy in countering Islamophobia consists of short, medium and long-term objectives that include focusing on interaction with media outlets, academics and experts on various related topics; producing content, publications and media literacy programs; engaging with Western governments in creating awareness; and supporting efforts by Muslim civil societies in the West and involving them in the elaboration of plans and programs to counter Islamophobia.
“No doubt there is a rise in Islamophobia in the West, which is indicated in the latest OIC Islamophobia Observatory Report, and there is usually a spike in hate crimes against Muslims following terrorist acts perpetrated by a Muslim,” Akeel said.
“The forum will look at the role of the media and civil society in countering Islamophobia from a legal and human rights perspective because we cannot talk about the role of the media without discussing freedom of the press and freedom of expression as fundamental human rights,” she said.
“When talking about the role of the media, it is within the framework of its responsibility in the proliferation of stereotypes and its ethical and professional standards in covering and handling Islamophobic acts.”
Source : Arab News