Global Freedom of Expression

3 October


Hate Speech in Saudi Arabia

  • 6:00pm-8:00pm EST
  • Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs - Room 1219
    420 W 118th St.
    New York, NY 10027

Under Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the Saudi government has promoted the kingdom as becoming a more open and tolerant country. Yet, as a new Human Rights Watch report “‘They Are Not Our Brothers’: Hate Speech by Saudi Officials” details, Saudi authorities continue to not only permit but propagate incitement to hatred and discrimination against other religions and Islamic traditions that do not adhere to its interpretation of Sunni Islam. This hate speech—which can be found in the country’s criminal justice system, the Ministry of Education’s religion curriculum, and in government clerics’ fatwas and statements—is instrumental in Saudi Arabia’s enforcement of a system of discrimination against its own Saudi Shia citizens.

Please join us on October 3, 2017, from 6 PM to 8 PM, for a conversation about the critical issue of hate speech and incitement to violence in Saudi Arabia with the report’s author and other experts.


Jack Snyder is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Relations in the political science department and the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.


Dr. Agnès Callamard is the Director of Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression and the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial summary or arbitrary executions. Dr. Agnès Callamard has a distinguished career in human rights and humanitarian work globally.

Adam Coogle is a senior researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division. He is also the author of the recent Human Rights Watch report, “‘They Are Not Our Brothers’: Hate Speech by Saudi Officials.”

Sheikh Maytham Al Salman (video presentation) is a Shia cleric from Bahrain and an internationally respected inter-faith leader and a renowned thought leader, who advocates for peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between cultures, religions and sects. He is the founding member and current coordinator of the Middle East and North Africa Civil Society Coalition to Counter Incitement to Hatred. Due to his work, he was arrested, detained and tortured by Bahrain’s law enforcement.

The event is co-organized by:

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression is a Columbia University initiative seeking to advance understanding on freedom of expression global norms. To achieve its mission, the Initiative undertakes and commissions research and policy projects, organizes events and conferences, and participates in and contributes to global debates on the protection of freedom of expression and information in the 21st century.

Human Rights Watch is an international non-profit organization that defends the rights of people worldwide, investigates abuses, exposes the facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice.

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights is the first academic center in the world to be founded on an interdisciplinary commitment to the study of human rights. It is committed providing interdisciplinary human rights education to Columbia students, fostering innovative academic research, and offering its expertise in capacity building to human rights leaders, organizations, and universities around the world.

SIPA Human Rights or Humanitarian Policy Concentration provides a strong foundation in human rights and humanitarian policy, engaging both theory and practice while giving you the flexibility to shape your academic experience to suit your interests and career goals.