European-Islamic media forum calls for clampdown on hate speech in Western press

Maha Mustafa Akeel, the information department director of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, speaks at the first Islamic-European forum in Brussels. SPA
Updated 30 June 2018
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European-Islamic media forum calls for clampdown on hate speech in Western press

  • The OIC is in the process of establishing a global press award for journalists who contribute to the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue and tolerance
  • The OIC has adopted many resolutions that call for clear and tangible measures to address Islamophobia and counter-terrorism resulting from it

JEDDAH: The first Islamic-European forum for examining ways of cooperation to curb hate speech in the media began on Friday at the Press Club Brussels Europe, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

During the opening session, the head of the Council of Journalists Union in Brussels, Peter Knappen, spoke about the importance of press freedom and stressed that it should be used responsibly and follow ethical and professional values.
Director of the information department of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Maha Mustafa Aqeel explained that the forum is part of the OIC’s media strategy to counter Islamophobia.
“Our strategy focuses on interacting with the media, academics, and experts on various relevant topics, in addition to engaging with western governments to raise awareness, support the efforts of Muslim civil society bodies in the West, and engage the latter in developing plans and programs to counter Islamophobia,” she said.
Aqeel said that, since 2005, the OIC has adopted many resolutions that call for clear and tangible measures to address Islamophobia and counter-terrorism resulting from it. These efforts have included establishing the Islamophobia Observatory, which issues an annual report on countering Islamophobia.
She also pointed out that the OIC has made efforts to engage the media, western governments, civil society and regional and international organizations such as the European Union and UNESCO in order to fight Islamophobia.
Aqeel explained that the OIC established a ministerial Contact Group of European Muslims in 2016 to communicate more closely and regularly with officials and communities in Europe, in addition to establishing a correspondence center to respond to the arguments and fatwas of extremist groups.
“The OIC is in the process of establishing a global press award for journalists who contribute to the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue and tolerance,” she added.
Aqeel said that the two-day forum would explore ways to establish cooperation between media professionals from OIC member states and the European Union to help curb hate speech, stereotyping and fake news, “all of which negatively impact society and provoke intolerance.”
The forum’s sessions discussed press freedom from legal and religious perspectives, and introduced attendees to the contents of the OIC Media Strategy to Counter Islamophobia and ISESCO’s Program for Training Media Professionals on Redressing Stereotypes about Islam and Muslims.


Saudi defense partnerships signed at Paris Air Show

Updated 20 June 2019
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Saudi defense partnerships signed at Paris Air Show

PARIS: Saudi defense chiefs signed a number of strategic partnerships with major global companies while taking part in the prestigious Paris Air Show.
The pavilion of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) company received a succession of key aerospace-industry figures during the Kingdom’s first exhibition appearance at the world’s largest aviation event.
High-profile visitors welcomed by SAMI chief executive offer, Andreas Schwer, included chairman of the SAMI board of directors, Ahmad Al-Khatib, deputy chairman of the SAMI board of directors and chairman of the board of directors of the Local Content and Government Procurement Commission, Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, and president of the General Authority for Civil Aviation, Abdulhadi bin Ahmed Al-Mansouri.
The pavilion also received a senior delegation from the Saudi Presidency of State Security, along with the director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser.
During the second day of the air show, which runs until June 23 at Le Bourget airport in Paris, SAMI officials took part in meetings and signed strategic partnerships with global businesses involved in the four areas of the company’s work, namely air and ground systems, weapons, missiles and defense electronics.
At a signing ceremony in the SAMI pavilion, company chiefs also put pen to paper on a joint project agreement with US aerospace and defense company L3 Technologies for cooperation in the field of electro-optical and infra-red technology and special task systems inside Saudi Arabia. In February, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the joint project.