Saqr Ghobash
Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the Federal National Council, is currently attending the First Global Parliamentary Summit on Countering Terrorism, in Vienna. Image Credit: WAM

Vienna: Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the UAE Federal National Council (FNC), said today that terrorism and violent extremism are global challenges, stressing that the international community must effectively combat them — though not only through military and security measures. Ghobash made these observations as he participated in a session held in Vienna under the theme ‘Role of parliaments in the prevention of terrorism, radicalisation and hate speech: Challenges, parliamentary perspectives, effective strategies and best practices’. The session was part of the First Global Parliamentary Summit on Countering Terrorism.

During the session, Ghobash said: “Terrorist and extremist organisations aim to take advantage of marginalised and unstable areas to recruit young people, which requires finding urgent solutions to the root causes and conditions that drive people to join these organisations.”

Encouraging community participation

He highlighted the importance of supporting the work of parliamentarians, in collaboration with the authorities in these regions, while emphasising the role of women, youth, local authorities and civil society, including religious leaders and community leaders, in standing together against violence, as well as improving the work of governments, especially parliaments, through encouraging community participation. Promoting the values of tolerance, moderation, openness and coexistence are key tools for combatting terrorism and extremism, he further added, noting that such values were long instilled in the Emirati community by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his legacy is being continued by the country’s leadership. “‘The Principles of the 50’, launched recently by the UAE highlights its cultural values based on peace, dialogue, tolerance and coexistence,” he added.

Eliminating root causes of terrorism

Ghobash then explained the UAE’s approach to establishing international partnerships aimed at combatting terrorism, affirming it has implemented a series of procedures aimed at countering terrorism and eliminating its sources and root causes — most notably the establishment of the Hedayah Centre, which is a global partnership project that aims to prevent extremism, and the Sawab Centre, which aims to challenge extremism on social media.

Ghobash also had a discussion with Om Birla, Speaker of the Indian Parliament, on ways of enhancing the parliamentary cooperation between the UAE and India.

During the meeting, both sides talked about the overall cooperation between their countries and how to achieve the visions of their leaderships, underscoring their profound friendship.

UAE-India exchange of ideas

They also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to form a parliamentary friendship committee, to exchange parliamentary expertise and knowledge, as well as views and political opinions on various parliamentary activities. Both sides then lauded the significant development in their overall bilateral relations.

Ghobash, who invited Birla to visit the UAE and the Expo 2020 Dubai, stressed their partnership, cooperation and friendship have witnessed significant and ongoing development in all areas, noting that their leaderships have provided unlimited support.

The mutual visits of officials from both countries, most notably the visits of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, have also boosted their relations, he added, affirming that the two countries have successfully developed models supported by wise and balanced regional and international policies, to maintain peace, security, stability and development in the region and in Asia.

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UAE’s policy of peaceful coexistence

Birla lauded the UAE’s excellence in applying the principles of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, as more than two million Indians live in the country in security and stability with the freedom to practise their religious rituals, making the UAE among the best countries in ensuring the rights of residents and promoting the culture of coexistence, peace and tolerance.

A number of FNC members also attended the meeting.

The Global Parliamentary Summit on Countering Terrorism is the first such Summit to be held in partnership between the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations.

This Summit allows parliamentarians to identify lasting solutions and make a parliamentary contribution to global efforts in counter-terrorism and the prevention of violent extremism, with robust action and a real impact on communities — in particular, the victims of terrorism.