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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — The Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal) Secretary-General Dr. Mansour Al-Shammari participated in a high-level conference on combating terrorism through video call on Monday as part of the United Nations events for the Anti-Terrorism Week 2021.
In his speech, the secretary-general touched on the ways and means of partnerships to confront and combat violent extremism. Pointing out that the diversity of attendees in this conference confirms that everyone shares one goal to confront extremist ideology that threatens the security and stability of this planet, as its dangerous existence requires cooperation and partnership.
“Since its inauguration in May 2017, we at the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal) believe in the importance of cooperation and partnerships with countries and organizations that work to combat extremism and spread peace,” he said. “We believe that addressing the phenomenon of extremism requires concerted efforts for one global goal, to refute it for the security and protection of the future generations.”
He added, “We are facing a rapid, even frightening transmission and spread of extremist content in light of the technical development of social media platforms, and technical and organizational difficulties which stand in the way of limiting or preventing of such content.”
Regarding the exploitation of the coronavirus pandemic for recruitment and polarization by extremist organizations, Dr. Al-Shammari stated that, "in the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have followed the extremist groups and organizations that exploit this humanitarian crisis and spread the extremist ideology, taking advantage of the high use of social media platforms during the lockdown."
Pointing to the role of Etidal, the secretary-general said, “We at Etidal analyze the behavior of some of these groups on many platforms at the height of the pandemic. We witnessed a rise in extremist content that promotes media materials, which add more panic and undermine confidence in the capabilities of the international community to deal with the crisis in the appropriate manner. In addition, these contents promote extremist ideologies against states and their institutions.”
Regarding international partnerships, the secretary-general of Etidal mentioned the center's keenness to sign a memorandum of understanding on the first of last April with the UN Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCCT), which reaffirms the continuation of efforts and work to contribute to the success of the UNCCT strategy, diversifying and investing in partnerships, and opening up to the world as a whole.
In his speech, he also referred to the dangers of extremist organizations in the Middle East and Africa, especially in light of the fierce terrorist attacks that these regions are exposed to, which go beyond the operational aspect to the ideological aspect. These attacks are fed by extremist contents through non-stop communication networks. We should all work on collaboration and make efforts to combat and limit extremism, and to protect the young people who use these platforms for very long hours.
In addition, the secretary-general invited the conference participants to visit the center's headquarters in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and see its efforts closely, discuss ways of cooperation and partnerships, and benefit from the center's expertise in this field.
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