Abu Dhabi: Defeating terrorism and extremism in the long term requires governments to come up with development plans that invest in their countries and people, said a leading Egyptian politician in Abu Dhabi during a lecture on Wednesday.
Major General Khalid Fouda, the Governor of South Sinai, gave the talk at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, with the main theme of the discussion centred on effective ways of eliminating the threat of terrorism from the region.
“To protect a country there needs to be key developments that protect its economy and other national interests — at the same time these developments must address social problems that are occurring,” he said.
“A wide-ranging development programme can be facilitated by two key aspects — a heightened sense of awareness from the people, and monetary investments. These two together encourage national goals connected to the economic and human aspect of the nation,” he added.
Investing in education and a proper understanding of religion would also be vital, according to Fouda.
“Education is the first step in the elimination of extremism and ignorance. We must create a generation of thinkers, a generation that understands that our faith [Islam] is not that of killing and oppression but that of righteousness and forgiveness.
“Having an educated society will boost areas of research, employment, and the national economic development goals of a country which, in turn, creates a good life for the citizen,” he added.
Fouda warned that terrorist groups often use people’s despair and hopelessness as a strong recruitment tool, which made it all the more important for governments to make their citizens feel cared and provided for.
“All of the basic needs of education and a good life need to be facilated and met,” he said.
With inputs by Alexandra Khairallah, trainee at Gulf News