IRCE Blames Social Media for Most Conflicts in Ethiopia, Vows to Fight Hate Speech

Addis Ababa Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia (IRCE) said it will work hard to safeguard the generation from hate speech and bigotry that has been on social media escalating crisis in the country.

With the rapid increase in the users of social media, the widespread of hate speech, bigotry, tribalism and racist contents has fuelled conflicts during the last three years, according to the council.

In an exclusive interview with Ethiopian News Agency, Inter-Religious Council Deputy Board Chairman Nebureid Elias Abrha said social media take the lion's shares in the conflict that has been witnessed since 2016.

Hate speech has resulted in grave consequences, provocative information have triggered violence, ethnic clashes and loss of thousands of lives, he noted.

Nebureid Elias stated that since most Ethiopians are great believers in God, religious institutions should teach their followers to consolidate the long-standing peaceful co-existence and harmony among the different tribes.

The Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia is trying to look into the matter seriously and we are seeking to win the hearts and minds of our youth, he pointed out.

Ethiopia Islamic Affairs Supreme Council Vice President, Sheikh Omar Imam Omar said Ethiopia is in a critical time which requires religious intervention.

The move of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is considered a reformist, would enable us to see a bright future. However, this effort should be supported by the entire public and religious institutions, he stressed.

Those who preach hatred only see gloom and doom, Sheikh Omar noted, adding that it is therefore the obligation of religious leaders and other institutions to build a peaceful society.

According to him, hate speech on social media has resulted in fragile states in the Middle East and Ethiopians should learn from this.

We have to advocate the dissemination of good speech contents to counter hate speech; and we need to a message of unity and reconciliation that encourages social media users to send positive energy into the social media platforms, he stressed.

Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia Secretary- General Megabi Zerihun Degu said both religious institutions and the government have not done enough to preserve the values of the society.

He underscored that religious institutions have not played their role in promoting ethics and morale value.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency