Global center to combat extremism launched in Riyadh

Global center to combat extremism launched in Riyadh
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and other leaders tour the new Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 May 2017

Global center to combat extremism launched in Riyadh

Global center to combat extremism launched in Riyadh

RIYADH: King Salman and US President Donald Trump on Sunday inaugurated the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (GCCEI), which aims to promote moderation and counter the spread of extremism.
The center is “the fruit of collaboration between Muslim countries that believe in the importance of combating terrorism,” said Nasir Al-Biqami, secretary-general of the GCCEI in his inaugural speech.
The center — named “Etidal,” or “moderation” — embodies the international cooperation in combating terrorism and enhances constructive dialogue to fight the problem. The selection of the board of directors, consisting of 12 members from different countries and organizations, is intended to reflect its independence.
On the center’s Twitter account, @etidalorg, it was explained that the mission of the new entity is “to expose, combat and refute extremist ideology.”
In his speech, Al-Biqami said: “Today in this historic moment that witnesses further partnership and cooperation to fight extremist ideology. This comes as part of the efforts paid by Muslim countries to combat terrorism and to recognize that fighting terrorism is a priority to Muslims and the rest of the world. These countries took the initiative to establish this center to combat extremist ideologies with its different shapes and means.”
Advanced technology has been used to operate the center, which is based on three pillars — ideological, digital and informational.
The center monitors and analyzes any extremist content as it detects several languages and dialects that are mostly common in addressing these ideologies. The processing and analyzing of data is done within six seconds of detecting content that may reflect extremist ideologies.
“The center will develop artificial intelligence technology to determine geographical spots that incubate terrorism to reach the roots of extremist ideologies, while creating an informational content that encourages tolerance and moderation under the supervision of a high committee that consists of thinkers and Muslim scholars from different countries,” the center’s secretary-general said.
The opening of the center came on the same day as the Riyadh Forum on Countering Extremism & Fighting Terrorism.
It concluded a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia by the US president, during which three key summits were held: The Saudi-US Summit, GCC-US Summit and the Arab-Islamic-American Summit. Trump’s visit also coincided with the Saudi-US CEO Forum and Tweeps 2017.


First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched

First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched
Updated 22 January 2021

First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched

First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched
  • The project will help define the region’s culture and enhance its position as a tourist destination

RIYADH: The first phase of the “Pulse of Alkhobar” project has been launched as part of plans to develop an integrated cultural center in the heart of the city and transform the Eastern Province’s arts scene.
The project follows calls by architecture experts, social media activists and artists for a collaboration across multiple sectors to strengthen the province’s cultural impact.
According to Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abudllah bin Farhan, the project, centered on the site of the city’s old market, is the fruit of a partnership between the ministry and its municipal and rural affairs counterpart.
Acting Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Majid Al-Hogail said that the project will build an artistic and heritage destination that will improve the lives of residents of Alkhobar governorate as well as visitors to the Eastern Province.
The project will help define the region’s culture and enhance its position as a tourist destination, he added.
Abdulhadi Al-Shammari, the province’s municipal chairman, told Arab News that the new project will also improve services at municipal facilities, while preserving Saudi heritage and culture.
The project introduces tourists and visitors to the culture of the province, and highlights Al-Olaya district as the center of the city’s culture and arts activities.
Al-Shammari said that the project will boost the city’s finances, driving sustainable development and growth as well an improvement in quality of life.
“It will create new investment opportunities for the private sector, and encourage small and medium-scale enterprises, which have an excellent and effective social impact,” he said.
Al-Shammari added: “The Saudi government supports all sectors to help them deliver lucrative investment opportunities and build a conducive environment for local and foreign investment, where new job opportunities are created for young men and women.”
Faisal Al-Fadl, secretary-general of the Saudi Green Building Forum, told Arab News that creating a cultural and arts destination that is open to a range of activities will add to the city’s tourist appeal.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project follows calls by architecture experts, social media activists and artists for a collaboration across multiple sectors to strengthen the province’s cultural impact.

• According to Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abudllah bin Farhan, the project, centered on the site of the city’s old market, is the fruit of a partnership between the ministry and its municipal and rural affairs counterpart.

“Cooperation between the public sector and international organizations, as well as professional organizations, archaeologists and the public, is instrumental in preserving the cultural and architectural heritage of neighborhoods and cities,” he said.
Al-Fadl added that the collaboration between the two ministries reflects “the importance of architectural and cultural heritage, and the tangible and unique archaeological importance of the buildings as a key element in the history of peoples and relationships inside and outside the Arabian Peninsula.”
He thanked both ministries for their efforts.
Arafat Al-Majed, a Qatif Muncipal Council member, said the partnership is a step forward that falls in line with agreements concluded as part of Vision 2030.
“The agreement will increase interest in cultural heritage and the buildings and towns whose profound and ancient history should be brought out to the world to see and enjoy,” she told Arab News. “The agreement will also improve the urban landscape.”
She said that the joint committee should have branches in municipalities around the Kingdom in order to shed light on heritage sites that can be included in UNESCO. “The Kingdom is rich in such heritage sites.”
Al-Majed said that the project will introduce today’s generation to the ancient heritage of the province in a way that encourages investment opportunities.
“Nobody can deny the fact that some municipalities are still hesitant about what to do with heritage buildings and towns since some of these are abandoned or about to collapse. These municipalities want to tear them down. But these are historical treasures that should be preserved and invested in to become an important economic driver, and a source of arts and culture,” she added.
Maysoon Abu Baker, a Saudi poet and columnist, said the Saudi government attaches great importance to culture and heritage.
“Vision 2030 emphasized the significance of the culture existent in old cities,” she told Arab News.
“Arts, culture and heritage are at the top of the agenda for developing cities and preserving their culture. The cultural impact is important for the future of the Kingdom and is related to its history.”
Yousef Al-Harbi, director of Culture and Arts Society in Dammam, said that the partnership will lead to “new visual perceptions highlighting the Saudi, Arabian and Islamic identity.”
He highlighted the importance of nurturing Saudi art and architectural talent, and facilitating cooperation in order to “bring out the beauty of Saudi heritage and cities.”