UNA chief calls for an annual forum for news agencies and Islamic institutions to confront extremist ideology

UNA chief calls for an annual forum for news agencies and Islamic institutions to confront extremist ideology

- in Islamic Thought
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Director-General of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) Issa Khaireh Robleh, called during an international conference organized by the Egyptian Supreme Council for Islamic here in the Egyptian Capital Cairo, to hold an annual forum for news agencies in the Islamic world and officials of Islamic scientific institutions, and the academics to spread the discourse of tolerance and moderation and to consolidate the building of states that deal with extremist thought and destruction.

UNA chief highlighted that this call comes in order to develop a joint media strategy with a specific annual agenda to combat terrorism, extremism and all forms of intellectual violence.

Speaking at the evening session of the 30th General Conference of the Egyptian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs entitled “Jurisprudence of State-Building – A Contemporary Jurisprudence Vision”, Robleh said: “We call from this blessed tribune to hold an annual forum for people in charge and editors of religious departments, and set a yearly agenda to address and discuss the spread of true awareness among the general public and youths, in order to protect the nation from terrorism and extremism.

Text speech of the Director-General Robleh at the session moderated by the Chief Justice of Palestine, Dr. Mahmoud Al-Habbash:”It is my pleasure to stand today here as a representative of the Union of OIC News Agencies at the invitation of His Excellency Minister of Awqaf, in this scientific and intellectual conference, on the land of Kenana, country of science and scientists and Al-Azhar, under the patronage of His Excellency President Abdul Fattah El-Sisi.

On this occasion, I would also like to thank the government and people of the Arab Republic of Egypt for their warm hospitality.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The “National State” is a prominent feature of the current stage in human history, and despite the problems that arise from time to time, we can say clearly: The “national state” based on the principle of “citizenship”, and the equal rights and duties of individuals, it remains the optimal organizational form chosen by humanity in its later stages, to preserve the interests of nation, develop its resources, and manage its external relations with other countries.

That means that the existence of an active “National State” capable of extending its influence, and turning its decisions and plans into actual policies, has become a condition for the continuation of civilization, and the progressive urbanization, in the contemporary world.

I am not here to talk about the fields of “Jurisprudence of State Building” in which our distinguished scholars elaborated through their additional research papers, which dealt with everything related to the foundations and rules of state-building, and the state of citizenship with a fundamentalist vision of authentic scientific jurisprudence that opens to the times and its mechanisms.

But I want to address to you from the responsibility of the Union of OIC News Agencies, who is the umbrella for OIC news agencies, and a platform for news and issues of nation and the media arm of OIC.

In fact, since the massive wave of extremism and extremism hit many regions in the Islamic Ummah, the leading institutions of our Islamic world led by Al-Azhar, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Muslim World League, and many centers and universities in the Islamic world have been alerted to this danger.

So from this standpoint, I worked to refute these hard-liner visions and provide images of our real religion, and this conference, which is based on a group of distinguished scholars in its previous sessions had great efforts in discussing and consolidating the images of coexistence, tolerance, and dialogue in Islam

In the last two decades, it has become more urgent to address the phenomena of extremism and extremism. It should be noted here that the centers that have taken the lead in this area, such as the Al-Azhar observatory of takfirist fatwas, extremist, and Islamophobia.

As well as Dar al-Ifta in Egypt, and the center (ETIDAL) in Riyadh, and Prince Khalid Al-Faisal Center for Moderation, besides many platforms to counter the phenomenon of extremism and the consolidation of tolerance and coexistence, including the Council of Muslim Elders, the World Muslim Communities Council and the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace and Hedayah Center in the United Arab Emirates, also Sawt Al-Hikma (The voice of Wisdom) of the OIC, and other efforts in this area.

From here we must highlight about the role of the media in the consolidation of the principle of the national state and specifically the journalist who works in the Islamic religious field, if we do not have specialized and qualified journalist that has opportunities for development and diligence and keep up with scientists and what goes out of them and their conferences, I do not think that the feasibility will be satisfactory enough.

The reality of journalists working in the religious field, whether in newspapers or in news agencies, is a situation that is lacking, while sports federations and clubs provide sports editors with training, travel, grants, and sources of income, as well as the editors of art and education and even those who follow the culture and publishing houses at least the cultural institutions and publications provide them, scholarships and travel opportunities, we find that religious institutions do not take such things into account, even if they did it could be individual and non-continuous.

Experiences have proven that the media is one of the most important channels that contribute to the building of the state because of the special treatment it requires.  If “education” is under the central authority of the state, so that it can manage its contents in a manner that achieves its goals and serves the interests of the nation, then the “media” is now an open space that is being contested by different currents and trends, which has created several challenges for the state and its media discourse, including: First, the spread of anti-national state rhetoric. If the state’s media rhetoric is based on principles such as sovereignty, unity of the nation, policing, moderation, and moderation, many rhetorics promotes division, sectarian conflict, extremism, terrorism and sometimes hatred of others.

Second: the absence of responsibility, as a result of chaos in the media publishing, and the exploitation of the freedom of publishing provided by the digital space to achieve contrary purposes, such as spreading rumors, and the deep forgery of news and videos.

Third: The spread of organized media campaigns targeting certain countries to mislead their citizens and undermine their confidence in their countries.

In the face of these challenges, the importance of communication channels of a precise nature is essential in establishing the State’s discourse and maintaining a communication pattern between it and the public, characterized by credibility, responsibility, and accuracy in the transmission of news and data.

In addition to the clarity of its communication elements, including the source of the media message, the channel and the purpose of the word, in a way that gives the media discourse reliability, and makes it more convincing.

With these advantages, the official media is distinguished from many media platforms in which the communication space is abuzz, in which the elements of the communication process are confused and ambiguous, so that the source of information, the purpose, and the references that depend on it, are often not known. The process of manipulating the public and disavow the responsibilities of professionalism and accuracy required by the media work.

At the top of the official channels of communication, which contribute to the realization of the “national state” in the media, national news agencies that carry out many tasks in this aspect.

We, as a federation of OIC news agencies, are fully prepared to cooperate with religious bodies and institutions to develop a project across the Islamic world to train cadres of religious media professionals through regional courses and workshops, and to study the provision of scholarships with religious universities and academies in the Islamic world to participate in these courses.

Proceeding from the outcomes of the fifth General Assembly of the Union, which was held in the city of Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the 15th of October 2017, where it stressed to counter the use of virtual space for terrorist purposes, including recruitment and financing, as well as working to disseminate the correct message and information about Islam as a religion of moderation and tolerance.

As well as based on the Statute of the Union, which is to strengthen professional and training relations and communications, develop cooperation, strengthen brotherhood and solidarity, and make efforts to maximize mutual collaboration.

Finally, we call from this blessed tribune to convene an annual forum for officials and editors of religious departments in news agencies and representatives of Islamic institutions and centers that have undertaken to address extremism, atonement and extremism to discuss the latest developments in this regard, and set an annual agenda to address and discuss to spread awareness among the public and youths in order to protect our nation from this scourge.”


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