UN to hold conference on Islamophobia

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Dawah (Outreach), Islamophobia Views: 9873

'Unlearning Intolerance': Secretary-General to open seminar on Confronting Islamophobia.
7 December 2004 - UN Headquarters

Secretary-General Kofi Annan will open a seminar on "Confronting Islamophobia: Education for Tolerance and Understanding" at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 7 December. The seminar will be the second in a series entitled "Unlearning Intolerance", organized by the Educational Outreach Section in the Outreach Division of the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI).

The series aims to examine different manifestations of intolerance and explore ways to promote respect and understanding among peoples. As its name suggests, the "Unlearning Intolerance" series offers opportunities to discuss how intolerance, wherever it exists and for whatever reason, can be "unlearned" through education, inclusion and example.

Part of DPI's mission is to bring together voluntary organizations, educators and other components of civil society for discussions with the United Nations system on issues that are not just universal in their scope, but have a direct and palpable impact upon the lives of children, women and men everywhere. This series falls squarely within that effort. It also responds to a specific request to DPI from the Committee on Information (a committee of the United Nations General Assembly), asking the Department help disseminate information relevant to the "dialogue among civilizations" and the "culture of peace".

The seminar will be held at United Nations Headquarters in Conference Room 1. After the opening statement by the Secretary-General, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University, will deliver a keynote address. There will then be panel discussions offering different perspectives on Islamophobia today, on the role of education in fostering tolerance and understanding, and on ideas for confronting Islamophobia more effectively. Panellists will include eminent writers, scholars, theologians and experts on Islamophobia and other issues relating to tolerance and education. These discussions will be chaired by Shashi Tharoor, Under Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, and will allow the audience and the panellists to make comments and pose questions. In the afternoon, the panellists will join in an overview of the day's discussions and further interact with the audience and each other.

The day-long programme will be open to the delegations of United Nations Member States, UN-affiliated non-governmental organizations, media representatives and members of the public who register in advance. (Please see contact details at end.) It will also be webcast live at http://www.un.org/webcast

The DPI launched the "Unlearning Intolerance" series at the mid-point of the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1998. The first seminar, held on 21 June 2004, was on "Confronting anti-Semitism: Education for Tolerance and Understanding". Coverage of this seminar and the text of the Secretary-General's opening remarks are online at http://www.un.org/chronicle

DPI's Educational Outreach Section also seeks to stimulate informed discussion on global issues, including those relating to discrimination and human rights, through the print and online editions of UN Chronicle. The UN Cyberschoolbus of the Global Learning and Teaching Project caters to online educational needs of primary and secondary schools and is currently preparing the first comprehensive multimedia web portal on the Millennium Development Goals for young people. An entire section of www.cybershoolbus.org is also devoted to providing a general introduction to human rights. Most notably, the Global Learning and Teaching Project was involved in a large-scale project on human rights for the World Summit on Information Society which involved 880 schools from around the world.

The Section's UN Works Programme, through an innovative blend of television programming, a multi-language web site and successful global publicity/media campaigns has given educational and media outreach a person-specific thrust that is, at once, compelling, memorable and provocative. It puts a human face on important issues such as poverty, AIDS, sustainable development, child labour, child soldiers, girl's education in its effort to educate civil society and raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals.

The Outreach Division has partnered with Court TV to produce a programme on the International Day for Tolerance in 2003 entitled "We Are Family: Educating Our Children for a Safer World"; and its NGO Section arranges public briefings, including a well attended meeting in early 2004 on anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and racism.

In conjunction with the "Unlearning Intolerance" seminar on Confronting Islamophobia, a photo exhibition titled "ISLAM", by renowned Iranian photographer Abbas, will be open to the public on 7 December at the Visitors' Entrance to United Nations Headquarters at First Avenue opposite 46th Street. This exhibition of his work is arranged by DPI in collaboration with Magnum Photos.

On the day of the seminar the International Film Festival for High School Students in New York will screen the film "Journey to the Sun" at the United Nations Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium at 1:30 p.m. Directed by the young cinematographer, Yesim Ustaoglu, this award-winning film chronicles the story of friendship between two people and their understanding of human suffering caused by racial and ethnic intolerance.

To register, please write including your name and affiliation to: Vikram Sura, Educational Outreach Section, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information, e-mail: [email protected], tel: 212-963-8274, fax: 917-367-6075; or Lisa Krutky, Educational Outreach Section, Outreach Division, DPI, e-mail: [email protected], tel: 917-367-3609, fax: 917-367-6075

  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Dawah (Outreach), Islamophobia
Views: 9873

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Older Comments:
Do these conferences achieve anything concrete in the real world? Usually all they end up in "All Talk, No Action".
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I agree with Mr.Abdul. I think that the presence of good Islamic scholars is a must for this sort of thing; and it would be good if they ran the gamut in their expertise from the mystical to the legalistic. Also, I think it would be nice if we had an educational program of some sort for people in general in my own country; as you can imagine, there is a lot of misconception about what Islam is. Too much misconception.
May God grant us the wisdom to be equal to our tests.
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But they must also have good scholars/speakers in Islam.
Zulfiqhar A. Shah-Orlando -FL
AbdurRahman Khan-Baltimore-MD
Zakir NAik-India
Hamza Yusuf
Yusuf Islam
Some speakers should be convertees also, so they can give their experiences and thoughts when they were non_ Muslims and Muslims.

I hope it will be covered by major TV network,and available DVD,Video-caseete s available later.
Please , ALLAH - HELP US and guide all mankind.
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