Baku, Azerbaijan, May 24
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva – Trend:
The co-existence of different faiths and ethnicities is increasingly under threat in both the Islamic and Western worlds, now is the time to build new models to bring people together, Muddassar Ahmed, writer and columnist, wrote in the article published by Huffington Post.
“It is increasingly recognized that young people become radicalized due to a combination of factors,” Ahmed said. “On the one hand, the intersection of poverty and conflict in so many parts of the Muslim world has made young people easy prey for extremist preachers. And all 57 members of the OIC have a long way to go to fulfill their developmental potential.”
According to the article, on the other hand, factors like low self-esteem, a lack of entertainment and poor social bonds, make young people increasingly vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist groups.
“To address some of these issues this month, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the world’s second largest intergovernmental body after the UN made-up of 57 Muslim-majority countries and the Government of Azerbaijan launched several grand activities under the theme of Islamic Solidarity,” Ahmed said.
“Two flagship events - 4th edition of Islamic Solidarity Games (already coined as ‘Islamic Olympics’) and the Model OIC youth summit designed after the UN Model simulation, are designed to tackle these challenges head on,” the article said.
“The government of Azerbaijan, in particular, is supporting aspiring young participants from the poorest countries who cannot afford to cover their own costs,” Ahmed said.
“The new opportunities for training and building networks of peers, along with the exhilaration of competing and winning, is designed to inspire young Muslims across the world to throw their energies into the values that define sports: self-improvement, teamwork, bettering oneself, and fair play,” the article said.
“The Baku Model OIC summit, specifically aims to tackle one of the most prominent drivers of radicalization: a crisis of identity in bridging one’s Muslim identity with the pressures of globalization,” Ahmed said.
“Women’s empowerment is also a major theme of the both the Games and the model OIC event,” the article said. “It’s not a coincidence that Islamic Sport Games were organized under the patronage of Mehriban Aliyeva - newly appointed first vice-president of the country and the spouse of Azerbaijan’s president.”
“As First Lady, Mehriban Aliyeva has been championing the issues of intercultural and inter-civilizational dialogue for more than decade and a half, launching a number of charity initiatives that foster inter-cultural dialogue both in Baku and abroad,” Ahmed said.
“All whilst being the only woman accorded as Good Will Ambassador of both UNESCO and ISESCO, and as the UN High Representative for Alliance of Civilizations Ambassador.”
According to the article, Qatari diplomat, Nasir Al Nasser underlined during Model OIC Summit Opening ceremony that it is the role of the female first vice president, who is in charge of running such large-scale international program that plays a model for Islamic world, where the battle for the women’s rights is a critical issue for overall development of the OIC countries.
“Thinking bigger picture, the hope is that events like the model OIC summit, the Islamic Sports Games and the forthcoming OIC youth day will demonstrate new ways in which Muslim governments can enfranchise their young people and catalyze policies across the Muslim world, in order to empower young Muslims to create new narratives of belonging in which different people of all varieties of faith and ethnic backgrounds can co-exist,” Ahmed said.