Text of Fr. Bader's address at Vienna conference

  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::element_type() should be compatible with views_handler_field::element_type($none_supported = false, $default_empty = false, $inline = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_query::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_query.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_user::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/modules/user/views_handler_field_user.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.

Text of Fr. Bader's address at Vienna conference

Vienna-en.abouna.org

Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader has stressed that the media outlets are invited nowadays to create atmospheres reflecting further cordiality, optimism, dialogue, and positivity. He also called for adopting a media code of ethics in order to quench the conflagration caused by “the discourse of the wolf” being reverberated on these outlets, and replacing it by the “discourse of St. Francis’’ which states, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”

This was reported in his intervention during the two-day international conference convened by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) titled, “The Power of Words: The Role of Religion, Media and Policy in Countering Hate Speech” which convened in Vienna on October 30-31, 2019.

Full is the full text of his intervention which was titled, “What can media do in the face of discourses of hatred?”:

Dear guests,

A few days ago, celebrations were held to mark the historic meeting between St. Francis and Sultan al-Malik al-Kāmil which took place in 1219. We marked the 800th anniversary of this historic meeting, which was characterized by an atmosphere of friendship and mutual respect.

Today we hope to relive that atmosphere and to go eight centuries back so as to live the experience which the poor saint and the just king had.

One day, St. Francis tamed a predatory wolf that used to scare the people of the town, Giobe. He said to him: “O wolf calm down. I will let the villagers serve you food. But neither hate them, nor humiliate them. Neither despise them nor frighten them, and do not instill terror into the hearts of their children. ” The wolf reacted by shaking hands with Francis. Consequently a truce was in place and peace prevailed.

Dear friends,

The wolf is present today in social media. It is a verification of what one said on day in the Roman era: "Man is a wolf to his brother." Every time the media try to disseminate the spirit of division, antagonism, hatred, rejection and despising the others, as well as inflicting damage on them, on their relatives and dignity, we definitely allow the wolf to bark and sometimes to prowl. The spirit of acting like a wolf is present in the social media. It is a feeling of hatred, a desire to denigrate others, to offend them, to criminalize them, and to label them as infidels. This feeling could transform into a violent act. That is why the one who carries out terrorist acts and is not affiliated with an organization is referred to as “a lone wolf.”

In the first letter of Peter 5:8-10 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”

How can we eliminate the attitude reflected by the wolf and have our media outlets adopt the path followed by Francis, namely “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”?

First: We need education in the field of media. This implies that a media message neither implies saying what you think nor to freely express one’s instincts. The media “tool” is the author of a media message. We have to take two points into consideration, namely getting trained on adopting professional, creative, and constructive media, in addition to getting brought up on the ethics s of using these messages in the service of development, and of the culture of love and encounter. A few days ago, the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan organized two workshops on guiding young university students to proper use of social media. It was impressive and fruitful.

Second: Media serves truth, dialogue, encounter, and the search for solutions to human dilemmas, the most important of which are justice, peace, poverty, unemployment, refugees, water and the environment in general. If the media do not contribute to the search for solutions and helping people, then media have no constructive and moral value.

Third: Last May, we jointly launched a pioneering and resounding media cry. The Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan, the Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation among Religious Leaders and Institutions in the Arab World, and the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Orient jointly organized a conference titled, “"Media and Their Role in Defending the Truth" and launched the Media Code of Ethics. I hope we can read it together. It lists the following ten points:

1. Commitment in the field of media to highlighting the bonds of closeness and cordiality among all people.
2. Commitment to moving away from whatever incites racial or sectarian strife and whatever triggers schism.
3. Commitment to supporting a climate, that strengthens the common relationship designed to develop the concept of the homeland, as a model in which everyone enjoys equality, and characterized by good citizenship as well as same rights and duties.
4. Commitment to respecting the rights of individuals and families regarding their private affairs and their human dignity.
5. Commitment, through the media message whether through the traditional media outlets or the social media, to show sublimity as well as respect for human rights, women, family and childhood.
6. Commitment to combating tendentious rumors as well as relying on credibility by referring to reliable sources, since people have the right to know the truth.
7. Commitment to respecting dignity of religions and religious symbols.
8. Commitment to stay away from the distorted and fake news, whereby truth would be the prime source and goal.
9. Supporting efforts that refrain from disseminating hate discourses with religious, national, sectarian or ethnic grounds aimed at any person or group.
10. Supporting cooperation with individuals as well as public and private institutions in order to serve and defend the truth.

Fourth: Do we have to respond to discourses of hatred? Lord Jesus Christ said, “Do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” So, what if one says nowadays, “do not resist an evil tweet with an evil one, but whoever slaps you with a post that exudes hatred, then it is not right to respond likewise?”

Fifth: From a quantitative to qualitative point of view: Whoever talks much, makes a lot of mistakes. The media outlets nowadays are called upon to further create a friendly, positive, and optimistic atmosphere. Wolves exist, flies exist, and examples of goodness exist as well. We want the media outlets to adopt a noble attitude so that we do not focus on the amount of daily news but on its quality.

We have to abandon the lupine behaviors of tweets to a humanitarian one? Will the world remind us eight centuries later that we gathered in a neatly arranged hall in Vienna, as Francis is being remembered? We hope so. But history will not forgive us if we are indifferent to the suffering of people and to the use of means of media outlets that violate human dignity.

In this regard, I call for the following:
First: The establishment of a joint Islamic-Christian intellectual and religious body, composed of 24 people, twelve of whom are Muslims and the other twelve are Christians, which we name “fiber”. Its function is to "extinguish fires" at times of distress and to counter discourses of hatred, such as extending well wishes to Christians celebrating Christmas and Easter.

Second: Establishing a joint Islamic-Christian television satellite station. So far, we have separate religious satellite channels with everyone acting on its own, at a time when some of them spew out hatred. We need a joint voice of common Christian –Islamic voice of moderation. Let us call the proposed satellite station “harmony, or dialogue, or platform, or together, or partnership, or brotherhood “.

Thank you very much.

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 14:22
Comment through the site Comment through facebook

Comments

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.