Forum highlights role of media in promoting interfaith dialogue
The Imam Mohammed Saud Islamic University (IMSIU) hosted on Sunday a UNESCO forum on the role of the media in promoting interfaith dialogue as part of the initiative of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
A number of experts and Saudi prominent scholars participated in the forum, which was held in collaboration with King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND). Various media representatives were also present.
The event was part of UNESCO’s efforts to promote King Abdullah’s initiative for establishing the principle of dialogue between the followers of various religions and cultures.
Speaking on the occasion, Abdullah Al-Refae, mass communication dean at IMIU, said that the event reflects the leading role played by King Abdullah in strengthening international peace and security as well as his efforts to fight terrorism in all its forms.
The participants discussed various scientific papers with special reference to the role of the media in activating the King Abdullah initiative.
Academic participants noted that “the modern and massive jump in the diversity of the various means of communication has led to more open dialogue and communication between individuals, institutions and communities.”
According to them, the western media is the main player in the global media as a result of its advanced technology and resources, while the Arab media is still under the pressure of its governments as there is no international law criminalizing the exposure of religions.
They said there is a lack of understanding among many Westerners about the true image of Muslims and Islam as a religion of peace and moderation.
UNESCO looks at the role of communication in facilitating intercultural dialogue as a central challenge especially with the increased use of social media, and its easy access among the youth.
It sees the use of communication as vital to advancing mutual understanding among people and between cultures. Moreover, empowering the youth and professionals on the use of media and journalism is considered a vital initiative to be undertaken and supported by different actors.