Diwan London was utterly disgusted by the disgraceful incident that occurred during its “Diwan al-Arab” webinar on Sunday, 26 April 2020. Participants were discussing issues of animosity and accusations of disloyalty when they were suddenly interrupted by the streaming of offensive material, prompting the session to be suspended until later.
Diwan London was set up to promote human rights, civil liberties and democratic change. It provides a platform for debates and seminars on topics we are not allowed to talk about in our own countries. Among Diwan London’s programmes is “Diwan al-Arab”, which invites Arabs in the diaspora to discuss conditions in their home countries and ways of working towards democratic transformation. Since the spread of Covid-19 has made it impossible to meet physically, we have started holding meetings online instead, making space for more people to attend.
At our first Zoom session, our main guest Dr Hala al-Dosari was talking about the need to accept the Other, allow alternative opinions and reject hate speech, when we were suddenly interrupted by the streaming of some extremely offensive material. This could only have been done by someone utterly lacking in conscience, morals or any human values. Such conduct shows not only hostility to the value of tolerance, and a refusal to hear other voices, but also an attempt to cause harm and offence to others in various ways. Moreover, using indecent, immoral materials, incompatible with all human values, as a means to harm others reflects the nature and behaviour of whoever carried out this disgraceful act and their utter, boundless depravity.
While strongly condemning this action, Diwan London insists that it will continue to fulfil its humanitarian and ethical mission, and calls on the esteemed public to rally round in support of human rights values and reject calls for social exclusion and antagonism, oppression and violence.
Diwan London hereby announces that its gatherings will shortly resume despite all provocations.