On Wednesday (June 8, 2022), the Headquarters of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) witnessed the opening of the Second International Conference on Countering Violent Extremism, under the theme “Collective Intelligence in Facing Terrorism and Building CVE/PVE Strategies,” being held by the Moroccan Observatory on Extremism and violence, in partnership with ICESCO, The General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) of Morocco, Mohammadia League of Scholars, and the Policy Center for the New South, with the participation of several experts, researchers and representatives of international and regional organizations and institutions, and centers of thought and strategy.
The three-day conference began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an, then Ambassador Khaled Fathalrahman, Director of ICESCO Center for Civilizational Dialogue, presented the work of the sessions.
During the opening ceremony, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General, gave an address wherein he stressed that the collective intelligence in combating terrorism and violent extremism is not only a means that inquires, anticipates, expands and absorbs, but also an end that underlines the importance of the inspiring human partnership, which is a desired civilizational demand.
“The goals of collective intelligence are imposed by the urgent need to build common policies and mechanisms among the various stakeholders. In this regard, ICESCO draws on a very clear vision that turns its fields of competence into vital platforms to develop ideas and solid plans for confronting the currents of extremism through awareness-raising. As part of this vision, the Center for Civilization Dialogue published the Encyclopedia of Deconstructing the Discourse of Extremism, in partnership with the Muslim World League and the Muhammadiyah League of Scholars.
For his part, Mr. El Mostafa Rezrazi, President of the Moroccan Observatory on Extremism and Violence, tackled the rationale behind the theme of the conference. “There are still imbalances in international cooperation in the field of combating terrorism, which we are trying to overcome with social intelligence,” he stressed.
In a video speech, Mr. Waixeung Chen, Acting Executive Director of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, underscored that terrorist groups are spreading in a large number of conflict areas and that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the scale of social problems that lead to violence, calling for continued collective efforts to face violence.
Mr. Abdelouahed Jamali El Idrissi, Coordinator of Mohammed VI Foundation for the Reintegration of Prisoners, noted the importance of rehabilitating perpetrators of violent and terrorist crimes, reviewing the institution’s reintegration programmes for inmates within society, and building mutual trust.
Mr. Haboub Cherkaoui, Director of the Bureau of Legal Investigations of the Kingdom of Morocco, stated that resolutely confronting terrorism requires the adoption of a comprehensive vision, social intelligence and optimal formulas to unify visions, proposals and solutions to eradicate extremism.
Mr. Abderahim Hanine, Presidency of Public Prosecution, pointed out that terrorist groups have developed their mechanisms through the Internet given its openness to a wide audience.
Mr. Mohammed Loulichki, Former UN Ambassador and Researcher at the Policy Center for the New South, underlined that eliminating the phenomenon of terrorism is a major challenge for the international community, which is making great efforts in this field.
Mr. Carlos Monteiro Reis, Head of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and Training (UNOCT) in Africa, stressed that through its support for the Office, Morocco is contributing to the UN orientations and training countries to obtain knowledge and address the various dimensions of the phenomenon of terrorism.
Mr. Mohammed Belekbir, Head of the Center for Research and Studies on Values at Mohammadia League of Scholars, stated that violent extremism is manufactured as people are not born extremists, stressing that this behavior is incited by extremist groups and it is possible to manufacture the opposite of extremism.
The first session then began on the topic “Extremism and Religious Discourses: Narratives of Extremism and Counter-Narratives.”