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ISESCO: Sound concepts combating terrorism and extremism
Global Arab Network - - Sarah Khan
Tunisia (Tunis) - Terrorism and extremism can only be effectively combated through promoting education on true values and sound concepts
Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), stated that the relevance of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy to North Africa has grown with the increasingly grave challenges to peace, security and stability in this region and across the world.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop on the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy Implementation, this morning at ISESCO, Dr Altwaijri underlined, “Terrorism and extremism constitute a serious threat to the peace, security and stability of all countries and peoples. At the international conference which we held in Tunis in November 2007, on “Terrorism: Dimensions, Threats and Countermeasures”, we recognised that terrorism is a criminal act denounced by all religions and which cannot be associated with any particular religion or civilization. We also stressed that terrorism is never justifiable on any grounds.”

He added, “In the Tunis Conference, held in cooperation with the United Nations and the government of Tunisia , it was also underlined that terrorism should be understood in its own political, religious, historical, cultural and economic context. Our current workshop will explore other issues of relevance to what has been tackled at the Tunis Conference. Clearly, the promotion of the Global Counterterrorism Strategy in North Africa is part of the implementation of the recommendations of both the Tunis Conference, and several other international and regional conferences aimed at addressing terrorism-related issues.”

He also noted in this regard that fostering global cooperation between governments, regional and international organisations, and local community organs is crucial in the fight against all forms of terrorism.

We at ISESCO, Dr Altwaijri underlined, are dedicated to combating all forms of extremist beliefs, conducts and practices. He added, “To that purpose, we have scheduled under our action plan a number of programmes and activities dealing with the ways to fight extremism, which we believe is the source of terrorism. For terrorists are people holding extremist views on worldly and religious matters.”

He went on to explain that terrorism and extremism can only be effectively combated through promoting education on true values and sound concepts, in addition to increasing understanding of the essential message of all revealed religions: namely, to advocate clemency, love and unselfishness, as well as tolerance, understanding and coexistence.

He added, “Both in this our endeavour, and in our cooperative action with the Centre on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, and other international organizations such as UNESCO, we at ISESCO start from our Charter, particularly its second objective relating to the promotion of understanding among peoples inside and outside the Member States, and contribution to the achievement of world peace and security by various means, especially education, science, culture and communication. In the third objective set for us at ISESCO, we aim to publicize the correct image of Islam and Islamic culture, stimulate dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions, and promote the values of justice and peace along with the principles of freedom and human rights, from the Islamic civilizational perspective.”

These are the principles which guide our action to fight terrorism and extremism, through education programmes and curricula as well as culture activities, he emphasised.

In conclusion, Dr Altwaijri said that the noble aim of hosting this workshop at ISESCO permanent headquarters is to identify practical steps to push through the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy in North Africa , in pursuit of peace, security and stability in the world, as well as progress and development for all peoples.

Speaking at the workshop’s opening session were Mr Alistair Millar, Director of the Centre on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, based in Washington , DC ; and Mr A.H.F. van Aggelen, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Morocco .

The workshop gathers representatives of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate; the UNDP; the Arab League; the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies of the University of Exeter, UK; Al Akhawayn University, Morocco; the Arab Bureau of Civil Protection and Rescue of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers; the Institute for Security Studies, South Africa; the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and the Task Force on the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy Implementation.

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