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 Arabia’s King Salman says Kingdom is committed to serving Muslims

Updated 45 min 39 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman says Kingdom is committed to serving Muslims

  • Prince Khaled Al-Faisal gave a speech during the opening on the World Conference on Islamic Unity
  • Prince Khaled welcomed the participants at the conference and has delivered to them the greeting of the king

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said on Wednesday that the Kingdom will continue its commitment and initiatives to achieve the hopes of Muslims around the world.

His speech was read on behalf of king by his royal adviser Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah during the opening on the World Conference on Islamic Unity on Wednesday, organized by the Muslim World League.

The conference, held under the patronage of King Salman, is held under the title of “Islamic Unity, Risks of Categorization and Exclusion” in Makkah.

Prince Khaled welcomed the participants at the conference and has delivered to them the greeting of the king.

He said he highly appreciated the convening of the Muslim elite scholars of this nation to this conference, in a show of their understanding of their legitimate duty to heal the rift threatening their nation.

He said the hopes of Saudi Arabia are built on these knowledgeable individuals to dismiss the rifts and achieve unity.

Prince Khaled stressed the need to overcome negativity burdening the present.