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Tolerance and Peace Council Grapples with Religious Hatred Threat

United Nations: Government officials met with diplomats and civil society groups at United Nations headquarters on Friday in a bid to tackle growing global fears over violent extremism after a series of deadly attacks.

Ahmed Al-Jarwan, President of the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace, an intergovernmental group, brought together some 30 luminaries to brainstorm ways to make the world safer and more compassionate.

Delegates met amid ongoing global security concerns and a rash of deadly mass shootings at churches, synagogues and other holy sites, including the attack on Muslims attending Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.

“We stress the importance of building bridges between nations,” Al-Jarwan, formerly a prominent Arab parliamentarian, told ATN

“From north to south and east and west, we seek to deliver a message of common humanity, uplifting the values of peace and tolerance and advancing a culture of acceptance.”

The Malta-based peace and tolerance council has promoted a message of non-violence since it was created in November 2017 and has already grown to include 60 countries, Al-Jarwan said.

The body has offices in the Middle East and Europe and is composed of a general assembly and a parliament, which sat for the first time in July 2018.

One of the event’s speakers, Gabriella Cuevas, president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, warned against a wave of populist nationalists driving up tensions between religious and ethnic groups.

“This is a very complicated moment for humanity and a lot of people are increasingly afraid and threatened by terrorism and criminals,” Cuevas told ATN.

“All the while, we have access to so much more information these days, not just in the form of newspapers but also with social media.”

Citing ethnic and religious conflicts in Somalia and Nigeria, Senegalese diplomat Babaka Ba, said that Africa has more than its fair share of problems.

“We really want to seize opportunities to express a viewpoint of promoting peace and tolerance and coming up with proposals for new mechanisms to address this important issue in a better way,” Ba told ATN.

In October, the council is set to bring together envoys from dozens of universities to Malta, where they will devise a strategy to promote peace and tolerance at educational institutes around the world.

Reporting from the United nations Headquarters in New York by James Reinl,

Filming and Editing by Mohammed Al-Karkhi,

Production Assistant Ilaria Maroni

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