JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is keen to promote a culture of dialogue and tolerance across the globe, Ibrahim Al-Aseeri, the deputy secretary-general of the King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND) told Arab News.
Al-Aseeri said the Kingdom had always been at the forefront of global efforts to eradicate racial discrimination, and promote a culture of tolerance and respect for human rights.
“Saudi Arabia has acceded to many international conventions that work to prevent any practices of discrimination or racism, most notably that of the UN against transnational organized crime — the protocol against smuggling of migrants through land, sea, and air,” Al-Aseeri said.
Highlighting the Kingdom’s international efforts, the KACND official referred to two resolutions Saudi Arabia presented at the UN’s General Assembly along with several friendly countries.
The first resolution aimed to promote tolerance and protection of religious sites, and called for the criminalization of religious hatred and all forms of intolerance, Al-Aseeri explained.
He said the second resolution called for marking one day of the year as International Day of Human Fraternity to promote coexistence and constructive dialogue between people from different religions and cultures.
Al-Aseeri described the establishment of KACND as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to strengthen civil society institutions and combat discrimination and extremism.
Since its establishment, the center has been working to create an environment conducive to dialogue between different segments of society.
KACND has also contributed to the formulation of a religious and cultural discourse based on moderation, ensuring freedom of expression.
The center has launched many programs and projects to promote diversity and forge unity among Saudis living in all different regions of the Kingdom.
“The National Center for Public Opinion Polls affiliated with the center carried out several specialized surveys to confront racial discrimination in all its forms,” said Al-Aseeri. “The center also produced several short films that dealt with the phenomenon of racial discrimination, social discrimination and related intolerance, highlighting ways to address and confront this phenomenon to make our society more cohesive and tolerant.”
KACND has also been critical in holding events to further the course of dialogue and tolerance.
“Sensing the seriousness of extremism and its impact on social cohesion, KACND held the … national meeting for intellectual dialogue in Makkah in 2003,” said Al-Aseeri.
The meeting, called “Exaggeration and Moderation: A Comprehensive Systematic Vision,” aimed at preventing the spread of extremist ideas in society by promoting a culture of coexistence.
Two years later, another national meeting was held in all the regions of the country under the title “We and the Other: A National Vision for Dealing with Global Cultures.”
KACND also organized similar meetings in 2013 and 2015 to assess the global, regional and local situation regarding extremism, militancy, and the intellectual discourse promoting intolerance around the globe.