ICESCO and Mohammadia League of Scholars launch the first volume of the Encyclopedia on Deconstructing the Discourse of Extremism
8 July 2021
With high-level participation of officials, diplomats, intellectuals, scholars and specialists in combating extremist ideology, the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) and the Mohammadia League of Scholars, on Wednesday (7 July 2021), launched the first volume of the Encyclopedia on Deconstructing the Discourse of Extremism, entitled “Deconstructing the intellectual backgrounds of the discourses of extremism,” which is part of the partnership agreement between ICESCO and the League, for protecting Muslim youth from the various forms of the discourse of extremism and hatred inside and outside the Islamic world.
ICESCO presented the first volume during a major scientific symposium, at its headquarters, in Rabat, which began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an; then Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director General, gave a welcome address wherein he reaffirmed that terrorism has become a worrisome phenomenon that obscures the major goals of our existence, which consist in peacebuilding, calling for strengthening this value to become a source of inspiration by spreading peace to become a central concept.
Besides, Dr. AlMalik noted that the Organization and the League issued this encyclopedia to invest in all the scientific efforts made in addressing the misinterpretations of religious texts to serve as a reference for researchers, scholars, university institutions, research centers, specialized observatories and international organizations to address the effects of extremism around the world.
Dr. Ahmed Abbadi, Secretary-General of Mohammadia League of Scholars, gave the main lecture, wherein he stated that the encyclopedia aims to protect young people from the discourse of extremism as well as other related concepts. “The encyclopedia is based on the idea that religion aims to develop secure societies. The first volume of this encyclopedia is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of the complex phenomenon of extremism, while the second volume deals with the tools for deconstructing the discourse of extremism. The third volume takes into account the nature of the current reality. Moreover, there is a conflict between the real and the digital world. Thus, it is essential to have an expert in the digital field for countering the extremist ideology because its promoters are strongly active in the digital space,” he underscored.
Afterward, the participants and attendees expressed their views during which Dr. Driss Fassi Fihri, Al-Qarawiyyin University Vice-President, stated that deconstructing extremist discourse entails identifying the components under which radical ideas are being disseminated.
Mr. Mohammed Ben Ayed, Ambassador of Tunisia to Morocco, noted that Islam, a religion of moderation and middle stance, urges people to use reason. “Extremism is an extremely complex and dangerous phenomenon that can severely impact humanity. The encyclopedia touches upon the different aspects of such phenomenon,” added Mr. Ben Ayed.
For his part, Dr. Ahmad Sennouni, Assistant Secretary-General of Mohammadia League of Scholars, praised the encyclopedia as it provides a detailed description of the changes Muslim communities have undergone and has a clear vision for deconstructing extremist discourse. While Dr. Farida Zoumroud, a Member of the Executive Board of Mohammadia League of Scholars, explained that criticism is one of the most important means to countering extremism since extremists usually seek religious pretexts for their acts through misinterpretation of texts. She also added that the encyclopedia strives to correct some misconceptions for deconstructing extremist discourse while analyzing its psychological dimension.
Dr. Abdelilah Benarafa, ICESCO Deputy Director-General, moderator of the Symposium, noted that Islamic civilization is the source of science and knowledge. “Understanding Arabic language and the connotations of the word “terrorism” is a key element to deconstructing extremist discourse; Al-Munjid dictionary was one of the first dictionaries to include the word terrorism back in 1960,” he added.
At the close of the symposium, Dr. AlMalik delivered a closing address wherein he praised all the efforts that contributed to bringing the encyclopedia into existence and thanked all the attendees and participants. He also noted that the Organization works toward incorporating the concept of peace into the primary level educational curriculum, which will be part of its recommendations during conferences and meetings with Member States’ education ministers.
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