Annan Calls for End to Extremism

The UN secretary general has called on influential world figures to fight extremism and bridge the divide between East and West.

Annan Calls for End to Extremism
At the opening on Sunday of the second gathering of the UN-sponsored Alliance of Civilisations in Doha, Kofi Annan said: "Lofty ideas alone are not enough ... we need to develop sobering but equally compelling counter-narratives of our own."

 

The UN chief drew attention to the violent demonstrations across the Muslim world over the satiric cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in Europe as symptoms of a greater global sickness. "At the heart of this crisis is a trend towards extremism in many societies," Annan said.

 

"I very much hope that you can come up with specific, concrete suggestions for ways of carrying dialogue forward so that it can really catch the popular imagination, so that we are not just a nice group of people agreeing with each other, but people with a message that can echo around the world."

 

Ideology of tolerance

 

He said world figures, especially artists, entertainers and sports champions, must promote the ideology of tolerance and understanding between cultures among youth before they are swayed by extremists. "It is very important to reach young people before their ideas and attitudes have fully crystallised," Annan said.  

 

The Alliance of Civilisations initiative, started in November by Spain and Turkey, has created a "high-level group" of 20 members including Mohammed Khatami, Iran's former president, Hubert Vedrine, former French foreign minister, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Shaikha Moza, the wife of Qatar's amir.

 

The group, which had its first meeting in Palma de Mallorca in Spain in November and will have two more meetings after Doha, is expected to come up with steps for promoting dialogue between cultures that will be presented to the UN, other international organisations and world governments in the autumn.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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