“Extremism and its negative impact on the future of Arab heritage” Conference attended by HG Bishop Ermia

“Extremism and its negative impact on the future of Arab heritage” Conference attended by HG Bishop Ermia

The League of Arab States, in cooperation with Al-Azhar Sheikdom, held a conference on Monday, December 4, 2017 entitled “Extremism and its negative impact on the future of Arab cultural heritage”, with the participation of representatives of Arab League member states, regional and international Arab organizations and concerned civil society organizations.

The conference was attended by His Grace Bishop Ermia, General Bishop and Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center and a number of public figure including, Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, Minister of Awqaf, Dr. Abbas Shoman, Deputy of Al-Azhar, Dr. Mohieldin Afifi, Secretary General of the Islamic Research Academy, and Dr. Hamdi Zaqzouq, former Minister of Awqaf.

The conference discussed a number of topics including the components of our cultural heritage and its impact on countering extremist ideology and establishing society identity, the role of official institutions, civil society organizations, media and education in the face of extremism and terrorism.

The conference comes in line with the recommendations of the final communiqué issued by the Arab Cultural Heritage Day festive held on 26 February 2017. The conference is the first of its kind to be held under the umbrella of the General Secretariat and suggestion of the Arab Parliament. Whose membership includes international and Arab organizations concerned with heritage  to unite efforts to protect the human cultural heritage.

Conference recommendations

1- Mobilize heritage stakeholders to preserve our identity and originality and protect it against extinction or counterfeiting.
2- Develop action plans against intellectual extremism that incite terrorism and destruction of heritage in accordance with modern developments.
3- Appreciation of the role played by Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and the League of Arab States in preserving identity and heritage.
4- Appreciate the value of cultural diversity and intellectual diversity in the Arab heritage, and to recall its manifestations and role, and employ it in contemporary Arab society.
5- Development of Arab civilization course, under the supervision of Al-Azhar and the League of Arab States, to address the bright lines in our Arab cultural heritage, highlight the moral and moral aspects of it, and teach it on the preparatory and secondary classes level in Arab countries.
6- Creating a secure and informed media environment with the values of our Arab heritage and its importance in shaping the awareness of humanity.
7- Mainstream “Islamic culture” course developed by Al-Azhar; to teach it in the institutes and schools of the member states universities.
8- Inviting the community to take knowledge from its sources, especially fatwas. Official religious institutions in the Arab countries can follow the example of Al-Azhar in the matter of “codifying the fatwa”.
9- To preserve the Arabic manuscript heritage by photocopying and digitizing it electronically so that the League of Arab States has at least a copy of it.
10- Activating the work of the ICRC to preserve historical and humanitarian heritage.
11- Addressing the concerned bodies of education in the Arab countries to work on organizing reciprocal visits for young people to introduce the importance of heritage in the Arab world.
12- Organize, protect and preserve heritage by holding training courses.
13- Present of the recommendations of the Conference at the celebration of the Arab Cultural Heritage Day, to be held on 27 February 2018, at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States.
14- Call on the world to respond to UNESCO’s recent decision to affirm that Jerusalem is Arab, and is the capital of the State of Palestine, and to reject recent threats to recognize it as the capital of the occupier.