JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held its second symposium on efforts by member states to combat extremism and terrorism. Three sessions were presented during the symposium, held at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah on Thursday, showing Saudi Arabia’s efforts to combat extremism and terrorism.
These included efforts by the Riyadh-based Global Center for Combating Extremism Ideology (Etidal), work by the Prince Khaled Al-Faisal Center for Moderation, and efforts by the Ideological Warfare Center.
OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahamad Al-Othaimeen said: “The security situation experienced by some OIC member states, and in light of the continuing terrorist threats, calls for concerted efforts to confront this phenomenon.’’
He pointed out the importance of member states exchanging knowledge and experience.
The main objective of the seminars is to develop knowledge to combat terrorism and extremism by reviewing Saudi Arabia’s efforts in this regard, since the Kingdom hosts and supervises the military alliance against terrorism.
Sultan Al-Khuzam, director of global collaboration at Etidal, said during the symposium: “Here in Etidal, we know that there is a lot of violence, killing and madness, and combating this is essential. The core problem is the extremist ideology that leads terrorists to commit violence and such activities, so the first way to combat terrorism is to look at these extremist groups in social media and the tools they are using to build certain propaganda.”
He said Etidal’s transparency and diversity were important pillars for its success. “If we want to combat these extremist groups, we have to work together as nations, countries and societies.”
Bayan Al-Mutawa, director of intensive data at Etidal, said: “The center is studying and analyzing terrorist groups in order to improve its performance in coping with the changes in these groups.”
The OIC and Etidal at King Abdulaziz University signed a memorandum of understanding on Nov. 7 to coordinate efforts to confront extremism and spread the values of moderation.
Al-Hassan Al-Manakhara, executive director of Prince Khaled Al-Faisal Center for Moderation, said: “The institute is the only academic institution that awards degrees in the subject of moderation. Seventy percent of the content of the institute depends on the consolidation of moderation in religion, while not forgetting the other areas of life.”
He said that “terrorism and extremism have no religion,” and pointed out that Saudi Arabia represents the religion of moderation, saying that the Kingdom is proud to have been the first to establish this concept.
Col. Abdullah bin Hadi Al-Hajjri said the Ideological Warfare Center was working to strengthen the “intellectual immunity of the target parties by raising awareness and immunizing young people against extremist ideologies.”
A representative from Afghanistan highlighted the efforts of member states efforts in countering terrorism and extremism.
“Scientists and scholars have to unite because extremist groups and terrorists use religion as a leading platform. Islamic countries must show friendship to remove ideas of terrorism and violence. All Arab countries should use new tools to push this phenomenon away and protect the future of their youth,” he said.