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    International Scientific Forum on the Role of Culture and Arts in Combating Crime and Extremism kicks off at ICESCO Headquarters

    17 July 2023

    Amid high-level presence, the International Scientific Forum on the Role of Culture and Arts in Combating Crime and Extremism kicked off today, Monday, July 17, 2023, at the headquarters of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO). The Forum is being held by ICESCO in partnership with Naif Arab University for Security Sciences (NAUSS) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for the Gulf Cooperation Council Region, aimed at highlighting the role of artistic and cultural work in combating crime, shedding light on the importance of cultural and artistic contents in supporting coexistence, and reviewing best Arab, regional and international practices and experiences in the field.

    The opening session of the three-day forum saw the participation of senior officials and experts from the Ministries of Interior, Justice, Social Affairs, Information and Culture in the Arab countries, along with representatives of regional and international organizations, and researchers from universities and competent authorities.

    The event opened with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, followed by the address of Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General, who stressed the key role of culture and art in human life, as they provide the best mediums to express human feelings, pointing out that crime and extremism are the product of harsh social conditions, devoid of societal role models.

    The Director-General made five recommendations, which focused on the role of cultural and artistic policies as a tool for addressing the issues of crime and extremism, the role of intellectuals as an integral part of social and civilizational edification, the significance of creating interesting cultural and artistic training materials at the pre-university level, the need for cultural facilities in neighborhoods and regions to provide cultural and artistic services that meet residents’ needs, and the importance of according due attention to younger generations to face current challenges.

    The session, moderated by Amb. Khaled Fathulrahman, Head of ICESCO’s Centre for Civilizational Dialogue, saw next the address of Mr. Abdellatif Wehbi, Minister of Justice of the Kingdom of Morocco, who stressed the importance of culture and arts in creating a cultural reference for humanity, noting that the Kingdom of Morocco has been keen to adopt an integrated national approach in the field of countering terrorism and extremism.

    Speaking next was Dr. Mohammad bin Ali Koman, Secretary-General of the Secretary General of Arab Interior Ministers Council, who pointed out that the security approach cannot singlehandedly combat crime, which prompted the Council to enhance the role of culture and arts in combating terrorism and acts of extremism, through several programs and initiatives.

    For his part, Mr. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Alharfash, NAUSS Vice President for External Relations, stated that the Forum is organized as part of the partnership between the University and ICESCO, in reflection of both institutions’ awareness of the role of art as one of the paths to support coexistence, combat extremism and promote cultural rapprochement. The NAUSS official also highlighted the University’s efforts in the academic and security fields.

    Afterward, 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, which was moderated by Dr. Ahmed Said Bah, Advisor to ICESCO Director-General for Partnerships and International Cooperation, Supervisor of the General Secretariat of National Commissions and Conferences. The session featured the respective addresses of Mr. Mohamed Dkhissi, Wali of National Security, Central Director of the Judicial Police; Dr. Angelo Miramonti, Expert at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; Dr. Samah Muhammad Lotfy Muhammad Abdul-Latif, Assistant Professor of Crime Sociology at Al-Arish University, Egypt, and Mr. Ahmed Jenidy, Expert at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

    The second session of the first day will discuss ways to promote the role of culture and art in combating crime, while the third session will focus on the types of cultural and artistic works and their contribution to combating crime and extremism.

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