On 22 and 23 November 2019, the General Assembly and meeting of the Steering Committee of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism took place in Barcelona.
The ECCAR is glad and honoured to announce that the ECCAR Member Cities have assigned the Award to Hassan Jarfi.
The ceremony of the ECCAR AWARD 2020 will take place in Liège on 21 March 2020, on the occasion of the International Day against Racism.
Attached you will find a short summary of each nominee for the ECCAR AWARD 2020.
Presentation of Hassan Jarfi – His history, his fight :
Born in 1953 to an Arab mother and an Awazigh father, Hassan Jarfi grew up in Casablanca at the junction of a mosque, a cathedral and a Jewish cemetery. Since 1974 he has experienced interreligiousness, interculturality and diversity on the path of exile where he would also get to deal with intolerance. Determined and combative, Hassan Jarfi got a master’s degree in Arts and Sciences of Communication at the University of Liège, and then obtained a Postgraduate Degree (DEA) in Sufism at the University of Aix-en-Provence. A man of transmission and dialogue, he became a professor of Islamic religion at Charles Rogier’s Royal Secondary School in Liège.
The "Ihsane Jarfi Foundation" was created on February 6, 2014, in Liège. It intends to fight against discrimination and homophobia. This Foundation has its roots in a tragedy which occurred on April 22, 2012: the homophobic assassination of Ihsane Jarfi, Hassan Jarfi’s son. It expresses Hassan Jarfi's willingness to work towards equality and against discrimination through dialogue - yet without concessions to intolerance. This is, in fact, what he has called for in 2013 in his book entitled Ihsane Jarfi: le couloir du deuil (Ihsane Jarfi: The Corridor of Mourning). This book translated into Arabic was, moreover, published in the form of serials by the daily Al Ahdath Al Maghribia in Morocco where homosexuality is illegal.
Hassan Jarfi leads his struggle against all the different forms of discrimination: "I would like us to learn from what happened to my son. We must go beyond the discourse on discriminations. It is not enough to say that we are against homophobia by accusing Arabs or Jews of all the ills of society. We have to assert that any kind of discrimination is unacceptable! ".
Endowed with an exceptional capacity for mobilisation, Hassan Jarfi manages to gain, in his struggles and his initiatives, the sympathy, the adhesion and the support of the City of Liège as well as of strong partners from non-profit, artistic, sociocultural, academic, economic and political sectors, at the local, regional, inter-federal and even international levels.
Hassan Jarfi has made "Culture" one of the strategic axes of the Foundation, a "vector of the struggle against intolerance". Thus, the Foundation organises, in partnership with the Theatre of Liège, the Royal Opera of Wallonia and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège, important cultural events and gala evenings. These shows serve the purposes of awareness, action and fundraising. The Foundation also receives donations from private companies and funds raised on its behalf by other organisations: for example, an auction organised by the Football Pro League under the slogan Football for All. The Foundation earmarks these donations and funds for its own actions, but also for those of other associations or laureates of its own calls for projects. It also carries out numerous actions to raise awareness against discrimination among diversified audiences. Two of its strategic axes lie on: "interculturality as a dialogue between the universes of representation", and "youth as hope in the future". In short, Hassan Jarfi is constantly testifying, dialoguing and defending tolerance on the field: in schools, in arts centre, in associations, in the print and broadcast media, in the street (especially in several cities, during marches against discrimination in the name and in memory of "Ihsane Jarfi"), in neighbourhoods, as close as possible to social, sociocultural and religious diversities, as well as among political and religious authorities, or at local or international meetings about diversity organised by the University. The Foundation also organises its own conferences, or its own writing contest "Ihsane Jarfi" for secondary school students, on the following theme, in 2016, "Homophobia and Racism, the same fight?”. Since June 2019, the Foundation, supported by the City of Liège, has launched the project, which is a novelty in Wallonia, of a refuge in Liege for young people disowned or even abused and excluded from their homes because of their gender or sexual orientation.
It is significant that Hassan Jarfi's exemplary career led him to receive, in September 2018, the honorific insignia and titles of Doctor Honoris Causa (honorary doctorate) from the University of Liège.
For more information and further sources, you can visit the following pages:
- La Meuse (Liège) : https://www.lameuse.be/480114/article/2019-11-27/distinction-internationale-pour-hassan-jarfi
- La Province (Mons) : https://www.laprovince.be/480114/article/2019-11-27/distinction-internationale-pour-hassan-jarfi released on 27 nov 2019
- NordEclair (Mouscron) : https://mouscron.nordeclair.be/480114/article/2019-11-27/distinction-internationale-pour-hassan-jarfi
- 7sur7 : https://www.7sur7.be/belgique/hassan-jarfi-honore-d-un-prix-pour-son-combat-contre-les-discriminations~a161500e/ released on 27 nov 2019
- Vivreici.be : http://www.vivreici.be/article/detail_distinction-internationale-pour-monsieur-hassan-jarfi?id=350956 released on 27 nov 2019
- TodayinLiege : https://www.todayinliege.be/hassan-jarfi-recoit-un-nouveaux-prix-pour-son-combat-contre-les-discriminations/ released on 27 nov 2019