JEDDAH: The grand opening of the OIC-Hedayah workshop on countering violent extremism (CVE) was held on July 30 at the headquarters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah.
The workshop was attended by a number of member state representatives, including Bashir Ansari, director of the OIC’s dialogue and outreach department, and the executive director of Hedayah, Maqsoud Kruse.
It aims to increase the understanding of violent extremism and CVE and to help identify the OIC role in contributing to CVE locally, regionally and internationally. It also aims to Identify and analyze the local drivers of violent extremism and to implement effective CVE initiatives.
The Palestinian representative said: ”What we want to ensure in this workshop is that the Israeli occupation and the terrorism happening in the Palestinian state is a reason for violence and extremism which threatens peace in Palestinian and the world. The only way to end this is by re-establishing the Palestinian state.”
Abdullah Al-Tayer, director general of the Cabinet and senior adviser to the OIC, said: “The Hedayah Center is one of the many initiatives and efforts of the United Arab Emirates in promoting tolerance, preventing the dangers of terrorism and extremists from kidnapping the true religion.”
Al-Othaimeen pointed out that there are many initiatives in the OIC member states that believe in fighting terrorism and extremism in the Islamic world.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has its distinguished initiatives at the center of moderation, the intellectual war center of the Islamic Military Coalition against Terrorism, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal Center for Moderation at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.
Ambassador Abdulrazzak Abdi, the representative of Somalia to the OIC, said: “Today we are experiencing a great cooperation. As member states’ representatives we have been demanding to have such workshop for so long.
“Sawt Al-Hikma has been established to have this kind of joint event in the centers of the member states. In my country we are suffering a lot of Nigeria’s Boko Haram and today we will learn how to tackle them.”
Abdullah Albaba, the Tunisian representative in OIC, said: “In order for violence to end, we need to stop the injustice. It is necessary to focus on educating the fragile classes in society so they won’t be convinced of the ideas of extremism and terrorism in order to reach satisfactory results.”
What is Hedayah?
The Center for Dialogue, Peace and Understanding of the OIC with Sawt Al-Hikma as its operational arm and the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (GCTF, or Hedayah).
Hedayah aims to be the premier international center and an operational platform for expertise and experience to counter violent extremism by promoting understanding and sharing of best practices to effectively serve as the true global center to counter violent extremism.
The OIC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Hidaya Center for Cooperation in a number of areas, including the implementation of joint activities in countering extremist ideologies, promoting balance, moderation, holding periodic meetings to address emerging issues related to terrorism, as well as exchanging information and experiences in the field of joint action To combat terrorism and extremism.
To conclude, Kruse said: “With the CVE targeted interventions as we are at the end of the day dealing with people as people can be influenced in different ways, how can we narrow the target audience and what kind of role models we have in the society such as religious leaders who can influence and impact the process.”
He added: ”How we can basically look into the whole CVE branding issue,???? because in some communities if you say this program is meant to contravene extremism you will immediately lose the interest of the community. Therefore we need to be careful and also look at the non-CVE programs that maybe benefit the program.”