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Culture News Kingdom of Bahrain: ICESCO Forum Crime Extremism

Amid a gathering of distinguished participants, the International Scientific Forum addressing the Role of Culture and Arts in the Battle against Crime and Extremism has begun at the headquarters of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO).

Conducted in collaboration between ICESCO, the Naif Arab University for Security Sciences (NAUSS) in Saudi Arabia, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for the Gulf Cooperation Council Region, the Forum aims to underscore the significance of artistic and cultural contributions in countering criminality. It also seeks to illuminate the potency of cultural and artistic content in fostering coexistence, while reviewing exemplary Arab, regional, and international practices and experiences within this sphere.

The inaugural session, spanning three days, convened senior officials and experts from various Arab countries’ Ministries of Interior, Justice, Social Affairs, Information, and Culture. Additionally, representatives from regional and international organizations, along with scholars from universities and relevant authorities, took part in the discussion.

The event commenced with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, followed by an address from Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO’s Director-General. Dr. AlMalik emphasized the pivotal roles culture and art play in human existence, serving as essential means to express human emotions. He highlighted that crime and extremism emanate from challenging societal conditions that lack positive role models.

Dr. AlMalik proposed five recommendations, centering on cultural and artistic policies as tools for addressing criminality and extremism. He emphasized the role of intellectuals in social and civilizational development, the creation of captivating cultural and artistic educational materials at pre-university levels, the establishment of cultural facilities in communities to cater to residents’ needs, and the importance of nurturing younger generations to confront contemporary challenges.

The session, moderated by Ambassador Khaled Fathulrahman, Head of ICESCO’s Centre for Civilizational Dialogue, then featured Mr. Abdellatif Wehbi, the Minister of Justice of the Kingdom of Morocco. He stressed the vital role of culture and arts in establishing a cultural reference for humanity, highlighting Morocco’s comprehensive national approach to counter terrorism and extremism.

Dr. Mohammad bin Ali Koman, Secretary-General of the Arab Interior Ministers Council, then emphasized that the security approach alone cannot combat crime, leading to the Council’s initiatives to bolster culture and arts’ role in countering extremism and terrorism.

Khalid bin Abdulaziz Alharfash, NAUSS Vice President for External Relations, underlined the Forum’s significance as a collaboration between the University and ICESCO. This partnership reflects their shared recognition of art’s potential in supporting coexistence, combating extremism, and fostering cultural harmony. Alharfash also highlighted NAUSS’s contributions in the academic and security domains.

To commemorate the occasion, the Director-General and the NAUSS Vice President for External Relations exchanged commemorative shields.

The first session focused on the role of art and culture in community integration through rehabilitation programs. Dr. Ahmed Said Bah, Advisor to ICESCO’s Director-General for Partnerships and International Cooperation, moderated this session. Diverse experts, including Mr. Mohamed Dkhissi, Wali of National Security and Central Director of the Judicial Police; Dr. Angelo Miramonti, UNODC Expert; Dr. Samah Muhammad Lotfy Muhammad Abdul-Latif, Assistant Professor of Crime Sociology at Al-Arish University, Egypt; and Mr. Ahmed Jenidy, UNODC Expert, presented their insights.

The second session, held later on the first day, will delve into strategies for enhancing culture and art’s role in combatting crime. The third session will concentrate on various cultural and artistic forms and their contributions to countering crime and extremism.

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