The Organization of Islamic Cooperation to hold forum in London to counter Islamophobia

People attend the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) annual convention in Chicago, Illinois on June 30, 2017, during which American Muslim leaders decried the increasing incidence of Islamophobia under Donald Trump's administration. A two-day forum will also be held in London starting Saturday for media experts and civil society representatives to explore mechanisms for countering Islamophobia. (AFP / Nova Safo)
Updated 14 July 2017

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation to hold forum in London to counter Islamophobia

RIYADH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will hold a two-day forum in London beginning Saturday for media experts and civil society representatives to explore mechanisms for countering Islamophobia.
The forum has been co-organized with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and hosted by the Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) in London. The two-day event will conclude with recommendations and possible projects for implementation.
Participants will look at the phenomenon of Islamophobia from a legal and human rights perspective, and how it is covered and handled, or promoted in the media, as well as the role of civil society organizations in addressing racial discrimination, hatred and denigration of religions.
Maha Akeel, director of information and communication at the OIC, said that this forum will be held in implementation of the updated OIC anti-Islamophobia media strategy, which was adopted by the 11th session of the OIC Ministers of Information Conference held in Jeddah in December last year.
The OIC media strategy in countering Islamophobia consists of short, medium and long-term objectives that include focusing on interaction with media outlets, academics and experts on various related topics; producing content, publications and media literacy programs; engaging with Western governments in creating awareness; and supporting efforts by Muslim civil societies in the West and involving them in the elaboration of plans and programs to counter Islamophobia.
“No doubt there is a rise in Islamophobia in the West, which is indicated in the latest OIC Islamophobia Observatory Report, and there is usually a spike in hate crimes against Muslims following terrorist acts perpetrated by a Muslim,” Akeel said.
“The forum will look at the role of the media and civil society in countering Islamophobia from a legal and human rights perspective because we cannot talk about the role of the media without discussing freedom of the press and freedom of expression as fundamental human rights,” she said.
“When talking about the role of the media, it is within the framework of its responsibility in the proliferation of stereotypes and its ethical and professional standards in covering and handling Islamophobic acts.”


G20 Young Entrepreneur’s Alliance Summit discusses role of entrepreneurs in time of crisis

Updated 12 min 17 sec ago

G20 Young Entrepreneur’s Alliance Summit discusses role of entrepreneurs in time of crisis

  • Adopting an ‘entrepreneurial mindset is becoming more vital than ever’

JEDDAH: Thursday’s G20 Young Entrepreneur’s Alliance (YEA) Summit focused heavily on the way in which numerous small businesses and entrepreneurs have successfully pivoted to adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and shown that they can be valuable partners in keeping economies afloat.
The virtual event, which continues Friday, brought together thousands of business leaders and talented young entrepreneurs from across the world.
G20 YEA Saudi chair, Prince Fahad bin Mansour bin Nasser, told the audience, ”Our theme for this year is entrepreneurship as a source of innovation and resilience as we reflect on the challenges facing the world in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear that adopting an entrepreneurial mindset is becoming more vital than ever.”
He added: “Here in Saudi Arabia, we are blessed with outstanding infrastructure and the government’s support to help entrepreneurs bring their idea to life.”
According to a recent report commissioned by Monsha’at, 50 percent of working-age Saudi women and 30 percent of men are launching or running businesses that are less than 42 months old.
“As significant contributors to employment, these emerging SMEs are set to drive economic growth in the Kingdom,” Prince Fahad said. “Around 75 percent of these businesses reported having six or more employees. Saudi Arabia’s commitment to assisting SMEs has been enshrined as part of Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s ambitious roadmap.”
He pointed out that Saudi Arabia aims to increase the contribution of SMEs to the national GDP from 20 to 35 percent over the coming decade.
“Saudi Arabia is enabling 100 Saudi companies to compete on the regional and global levels as a means to stimulate the entrepreneurship landscape and provide new opportunities for the sector,” he said.

HIGHLIGHT

The YEA is a group of organizations from across the jurisdiction of the G20 that promote youth entrepreneurship as a driver of economic renewal, job creation, innovation and social change.

The director of the innovation and entrepreneurship sector at the Ministry of Investment, Dr. Mazin Al-Zaidi, said that the most important thing for entrepreneurs is the number, and potential value of, opportunities.
“I believe we in Saudi Arabia have the largest opportunity for any entrepreneur. It is very easy to set up an opportunity in Saudi Arabia. Any foreign entrepreneur can obtain a license in less than three hours, with a 100 percent ownership, for only $500,” Al-Zaidi said.
For his part, Armen Ovanessof, principal director at Accenture Research, shed light on what the future might hold and what other uncertainties may lie ahead, stressing that the world will need “vision, agility and collaborative spirit” to build a better future.
Saudi Venture Capital Company CEO Dr. Nabil Koshak said: “Vision 2030 has highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship in economic and social transformation. We have seen innovative products and service solutions. The government and the local authorities have been working on updating and changing the regulatory environment to be more friendly to entrepreneurs, startups and investors.”
The vice governor of entrepreneurship advancement at the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Monsha’at), Esam Al-Thukair, explained why he believes that fostering entrepreneurship is important.
“It is important for two main reasons: It is the most job generating industry and it has become a more significant GDP contributor than ever,” he said.