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Al-Othaimeen: Action Plan for the Islamic World Cultural Strategy and encouraging soft narratives to counter terrorism

The 11th session of OIC Standing Committee on Information and Cultural Affairs (COMIAC) approved the Action Plan for the Implementation of OIC Cultural Strategy, today, 15 May 2018, in Dakar, capital-city of Senegal.

In his address to the current session of COMIAC, which opened in the presence of the President of Senegal, President of COMIAC, H.E. Mr. Macky Sall, as well as the Ministers of Information and Culture of the Member States, the OIC Secretary General, Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, said that the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Cultural Strategy is aimed at promoting and highlighting the cultural values and strengths of the Islamic world, particularly to counter Islamophobia. He also pointed that the OIC General Secretariat is working on providing a mechanism to encourage soft narratives to counter terrorism through the aforementioned Action Plan while focusing particularly on literature and films production.

H.E. the President of Senegal gave an address, in which he expressed his appreciation for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz for his leadership and initiatives through the Vienna-based King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. His Excellency also emphasized that Islam is a religion of middle stance and that it calls for moderation, respect of neighbors and peaceful co-existence among peoples.

On the other hand, the OIC Secretary General underlined the OIC interest in media, particularly in light of the smear campaigns waged against Islam and Muslims by the different media outlets, consciously or unconsciously.

As far as the role of COMIAC is concerned, Dr. Al-Othaimeen said that the Committee is concerned with the development of the media and culture sectors, within the framework of the OIC, and the establishment of programs and projects aimed at the promotion of the joint cultural and media action among the Member States. In the same vein, he highlighted that COMIAC seeks also to activate the OIC Media Strategy for Countering Islamophobia, as well as the OIC comprehensive media strategy until 2025. He also called for intensifying coordination and collaboration between the OIC and the institutions specialized in creating content that depicts Islam and its magnanimous values and targets the western audience, so as to contribute to redressing stereotypes about Islam.

As for the safeguarding of cultural heritage in the Islamic world, the Secretary General commended the remarkable concentrated efforts Saudi Arabia is making in safeguarding the cultural heritage of humankind in the country and establishing infrastructure allowing access to interested people.

In the same vein, the Secretary General underlined that the participants in COMIAC meeting strongly condemned the murders that took place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 14 May 2018, following the relocation of the American embassy to Al-Quds Al-Sharif, and expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle and resistance against the Israeli occupation, calling at the same time for the protection of the Islamic sanctities in Palestine.

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