UAE foreign minister warns Europe over terror threat

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan addresses the Tweeps 2017 Forum in Riyadh Sunday.
Updated 22 May 2017

UAE foreign minister warns Europe over terror threat

RIYADH: The UAE’s foreign minister has warned Europe that some countries could be classified as “incubators of terrorism” if they fail to better address extremism.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said that such countries should be publicly identified if they did not do more to address terror.
“Saudi Arabia is more keen to fight terrorism than the… Europeans,” Sheikh Abdullah said during the Tweeps Forum 2017. “The voices we hear calling for murder and shedding blood and stealing the wealth of people are in London, Germany, Spain and Italy.
“There will come a day when we see far more radicals, extremists and terrorists coming from Europe because of (a) lack of decision-making, and trying to be politically correct.
“From now on, we will name and shame these countries. We will classify them as incubators of terror if they don’t address this problem of terrorism in their lands.”
The Saudi and UAE foreign ministers took part of a panel discussion on digital responses to extremism, which was moderated by Francine Lacqua, anchor and editor-at-large at Bloomberg TV.
The two ministers discussed tackling the promotion of extremism on social media, with Al-Nahyan calling for wider criminalization of terrorist content on the Internet.
“Social media (players) must realize that there is content that is exploited by extremist and terrorist groups that want to recruit our sons and daughters and want to hijack religion,” the UAE minister said.
“Unfortunately, there is a legislative vacuum at the international level to criminalize this content.”
He pointed out that there is a responsibility for countries to legislate their national laws with the participation of international organizations and conventions.
He added that the establishment of a Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology, which was one of the outcomes of the US-Saudi summit, is a huge step by the Kingdom to confront radical thought.
Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that one of the challenges is not knowing the identity of users on social media sites.
However, companies have began to cooperate more by identifying those who instigate or plan terrorist acts, and it is only a matter of time before there is an effective mechanism that doesn’t affect the freedom of legitimate users.
“There must be a way of knowing who will misuse these means,” Al-Jubeir said.


Ithra marks National Day with exhibitions, competitions and performances

Updated 23 September 2020

Ithra marks National Day with exhibitions, competitions and performances

  • The study reveals a need to protect and preserve Saudi heritage in the face of cultural homogenization

RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is marking Saudi Arabia’s 90th National Day with exhibitions, a scavenger hunt, a fine dining pop-up, and artistic performances.

The center started its National Day celebrations on Sept. 21 and the activities run through to Sept. 26. 

Rania Biltagi, the head of communication and partnerships at Ithra, said she hoped that people this year would ask themselves what being Saudi meant to them.

“I am proud to be part of an organization created as a creative and cultural destination perfectly positioned to drive and participate in conversations such as these,” she told Arab News. “Our mandate involves igniting cultural curiosity, exploring knowledge and inspiring creativity, and it’s a task we don’t take lightly.”

“Saudi at heart, multicultural by nature” had been the Ithra motto from the start, she said, and the center was always looking inward even as it looked outward.

Biltagi shared the results of research that Ithra had conducted about the impact of globalization on Saudi Arabia’s culture.

“The study reveals a need to protect and preserve Saudi heritage in the face of cultural homogenization. However, it also shows that Saudis are willing and able to embrace modernity and globalization while still cherishing their unique national identity.”

Ithra has created the “Kingdom of Cultures” exhibition, which will take visitors on an interactive and state-of-the-art journey through Saudi Arabia’s lands and tell stories about the Saudi people. It will also feature crafts, dialects and customs.

Writer and Saudi heritage expert Ali Ibrahim Moghawi said he was honored to be participating in the festival as part of the “Flower Men” booth.

“To be representing our great nation at the very place where oil was first discovered, a place that represents the heart of progress in Saudi Arabia, the place that has done the most to respect our heritage and support every Saudi generation future, past, and present, is an honor,” he told Arab News.

Ithra has scheduled musical performances from Saudi band Al-Farabi, which will also feature the pianist Abeer Balubaid and singer Ameen Farsi. Award-winning poet Abdulatif Almubarak will host an evening of poetry – “Aswat” – accompanied by musicians in a celebration of Saudi civilization.

The center has devised a pop-up restaurant called Takya, which will offer guests a fine dining experience with Saudi fusion cuisine and modern takes on old favorites.

It has also announced plans to revamp and renovate an old farmer’s market in Alkhobar’s Al-Ulaya district to give it an energetic and artsy edge. The covered space is being redecorated and will feature areas for art and music, in addition to a dedicated and upgraded space where local farmers can sell their produce.

Ithra plans to curate installations at the market to make it more visually appealing as well as to take art and creativity directly to the community.

It has scheduled two celebration sessions a day with limited space and occupancy. The first runs from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. while the second is from 8:30 p.m. until midnight.

Tickets to the events, as well as the special performances, are available on Ithra’s website.