Prince Turki Alfaisal: Arab Think Tanks Should Be More Active in the Media to Combat Extremist Ideology
Date: 2017-10-18

Prince Turki Alfaisal, Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, said that Islam always represents and will continue to represent the spirit and spiritual principle of much of the Arab nation. He stressed that Arab societies still find in Islam "a vital engine" and "latent forces" of existence based on regional and international political scenes, because Islam is the source of political systems in all Arab countries, whether religious or constitutional, depending on the specific history of each country and society.

This was during his participation in the Forum Paris 5 dialogue in Paris on Wednesday, October 11, 2017; organized by the Euro Arab Center for Studies on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Center, where the seminar was under the title "The Role of Study Centers in Decision Making," in addition to discussing a number of other issues such as: water and food security, the issue of Jerusalem and its Judaization projects, the Arab-European relations and the confrontation of external ambitions in the Arabian Gulf.

During the first session, Alfaisal spoke on "Takfiri movements, regional and international threats facing the Arab world and the role of study centers in confronting them." He stressed the importance of enriching intellectual and cultural dialogue to serve Arab and Islamic issues.

Prince Turki called for devoting awareness to the importance of Arab organizations and research centers in the face of the real threats of spreading Takfiri ideology across national borders. This will require a large-scale media campaign that will benefit the media through popular support to combat extremism, stressing that organizations, research centers as non-governmental organizations should be more present on the ground, together with governments, families and young people throughout the Arab world, which for decades formed the basis of social knowledge in the Arab world.

Alfaisal criticized the media outside the Arab world, which does not lend any attention to the Arab organizations and research centers, such as the National Center for Scientific Research CNRS or the French Institute for International Relations Ifri in France, or Chatham House in London, or similar to many think tanks and research centers in New York and Washington, and said that few Arab institutions are known in the international scene. He also called for putting organizations, research centers and studies at the forefront of Arab national and regional media attention. He said that social and political research centers, especially in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and the Arab Gulf countries, should be more active in the new media, especially in social media, in order to spread dialogue and debate on combating Takfiri thought and the reasons related to its spread in the Arab world.

Prince Turki Alfaisal said that independent organizations, institutions, Think Tanks, research centers and universities in the Arab world will create a strong presence in social media not only in Arabic, Amazigh or Kurdish, but also in French, English, Persian, Hebrew and Turkish, to attract as many audiences as possible in the Middle East and North Africa. "The goal for which the Arab States are working towards is beyond race, religion, nationalism or sect. The issue of combating extremism and Takfiri thought is a humanitarian issue, and therefore it is an issue that we must defend and follow up with all necessary means available."

The conference was attended by a number of intellectuals, politicians, diplomats, and media correspondents in partnership with the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the French Foreign Ministry, and the World Council for Tolerance and Peace.

The audience praised the efforts of the Euro Arab Center for Studies for defending Arab interests in the West and promoting the role of intellectuals in supporting political actors. The Center is to publish all the working papers submitted by the Paris Forum 5 in a forthcoming book.

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