Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – The Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) took part in the virtual international conference organized on Thursday by the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia (SAMR) and the Russian news agency TASS.
The conference was held under the theme “Religion in a Changing World: The Role of Education in Raising the Youth”, in the attendance of Sheikh Albert Karganov, mufti of Moscow, head of SAMR, and member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation (PCRF).
In a speech delivered on his behalf by UNA Production Director Abdul Qader Al-Zahrani, Acting UNA Director-General Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Qarni said the conference was of great importance as it promoted coexistence, tolerance and convergence among all of humanity.
“We are really in need of adherence to the lofty values of religions, and activating them in light of the tremendous changes the world is undergoing, with young people being faced by enormous cross-border challenges in the age of mass-media space, where the various currents compete against each other,” Al-Qarni said.
He appreciated the efforts made by SAMR and the Islamic institutions in the Russian Federation in taking care with the proper rehabilitation and training of young people, and consolidating the concepts of peaceful coexistence and dialogue among them.
“It is no secret that the media is a fundamental partner to educational institutions, and a conveyor of its message to the youth audience,” said the acting director-general, adding that “out of the Union’s belief in this partnership and in undertaking this role, we have taken it upon ourselves to contribute to disseminating the message of the educational institutions among the young people”.
“We initiated a positive deal with youth issues, by publishing and distributing material that immunizes the young people and instills in them the values of tolerance, coexistence and acceptance of others, as well as opening the future horizon for them, to build themselves and their homelands. This material also exposes the falsehood of racist and hate speeches that seeks to recruit youth, in order to ignite discord and conflicts.”
In his speech, Al-Qarni referred to the First Media Forum of the Union, which hosted on 14 July 2020, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, who highlighted the role of official scientific organizations and bodies in immunizing youth against extremist ideology. He also mentioned the second edition of the Union’s series of media forum on “Ways to consolidate coexistence among followers of religions and cultures”, which hosted on 20 August 2020, Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Sheikh Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa.
“The Union has taken upon itself to care for young media professionals, so it launched its training project for this year, which aims to train 2,200 media professionals in the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation,” Al-Qarni said, spelling out that the project was launched during the Union’s Media Forum for News Agencies held on 16 May 2020 under the patronage of Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi, Acting Media Minister of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the UNA Executive Council.
The forum was held in partnership with the OIC Department of Information and the Islamic Broadcasting Union (IBU). In this context, two workshops were conducted in Arabic and French on “Methods of fact-checking news during crises and spread of rumors”, on 8 and 23 June 2020. The Union also organized a training workshop on “Media interaction with the implications of child rights in light of the coronavirus crisis”, and preparations are underway to launch on 7 October 2020 a training workshop on “The Future of Digital Media Post Coronavirus Pandemic”.
In his speech, Al-Qarni concluded that the Union of OIC News Agencies welcomes cooperation with various institutions and bodies to serve youth issues in diverse cultural, educational and religious trends.