EU First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová have appointed two coordinators for combating antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred, as announced in the Commission’s First Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights held in October. Their key tasks will be to bring to the attention of the First Vice-President and the Commissioner specific Muslim and Jewish concerns and to act as dedicated contact points for the two communities, while contributing to the development of the European Commission’s overarching strategy to combat hate crime, hate speech, intolerance and discrimination. They will also contribute to other relevant policy areas such as education and those geared at combating radicalisation and violent extremism. They will liaise with the Member States, the European Parliament, other institutions, relevant civil society organisations and academia .
Ms Katharina von Schnurbein is the new Coordinator on combating antisemitism. A German national, she has been coordinating the Commission’s dialogue with Churches, religions, philosophical and non-confessional organisations and was part of former Commission President José Manuel Barroso’s advisory team. Before that she was the Commission’s spokesperson for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal opportunities (2004-2010) and press officer at the Delegation of the European Commission to the Czech Republic (2002-2004).
Mr David Fringier is the Coordinator for combating anti-Muslim hatred. A Maltese national, since 2012, he has been working within the Commission’s Justice Directorate-General on anti-racism policies and fundamental rights and is the longest-standing member of the team working on the implementation of the EU’s Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia. Previously he held legal and policy officer posts within the Commission dealing with European citizenship and free movement and lectured on European law at the University of Malta.
I find the obsession with religious hatred interesting. If I speak against religion I would like believers to understand that this is not the same as hating the religious. I hate slavery but this does not mean that I hate slaves. Quite the reverse, it is my empathy for the enslaved that causes me to hate slavery. I do hope those charged with enforcing the religious hatred legislation can understand this.
I’m not convinced it’s an exact parallel: hating slavery is surely not about hating slaves but about hating those who do the enslaving. Nothing wrong with that, is there?
Perhaps Mr. Rogers might be implying that the followers of a particularly repressive religion might themselves actually be enslaved by it in a sense?
Here’s another challenging question. Is it right to hate the followers of a religion that regards the enslavement of prisoners of war as perfectly legitimate? If there is nothing wrong with hating those who enslave, surely by extension there is nothing wrong with hating those who condone slavery through their religious beliefs?