CAIRO, November 28, 2017 – Honorable Ministers – Members of the Executive Bureau of the Council of Arab Information Ministers
Ladies and gentlemen of the audience
Peace be upon you,
Greetings from Cairo, the capital of Egypt, and a key city for Arabism and our heritage. It is a great place for all Arabs and I would like to start by extending my sincere condolences to the people, government and leaders of Egypt on the victims killed in the Rawda Mosque bombing in Sinai. We express our fraternal solidarity with the Arab Republic of Egypt in our stance against the criminal terrorists who committed this heinous crime. And we are sure that Egypt will remain resistant to all attempts to undermine its security and stability, as throughout its history, it has demonstrated a unique ability to confront crises.
This horrible crime reminds me of what we discussed during the last Council of Arab Information Ministers. We need to act together against media outlets that spread hate speech and violence, and give terrorists a platform to promote their messages.
I come to Egypt two days after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia witnessed the first meeting of the Council of Defence Ministers of the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism, which is comprised of 41 states in unanimous agreement on the need to work together and cooperate in the military, political, security, and financial sectors to face terrorism.
Here, I recall what His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman said in his speech during the inauguration of this meeting: “the greatest threat from terrorism is the distortion of the tolerant Islamic faith and the intimidation the innocent. The countries of the alliance will not allow the work of these terrorist organizations to continue, and will fight terrorism until it disappears from the face of Earth. Terrorism is present in all our countries and its organizations have working in the absence of a strong alliance between us, but this will change with the existence of this alliance. We will work on coordinating and integrating efforts to combat terrorism.”
Since we are discussing tackling terrorism, it is important to mention several key points. First, the war on terror is multi-track, and one of the most important of these is media. Some media outlets sponsor terrorist groups, manufacture its symbols, and portray the formation of terrorist groups as a result of economic and social injustice. The intent of these outlets is to justify the actions of these groups, and discredit the countries fighting terrorism. The time has come for the world to shoulder the responsibility for holding these outlets accountable. We have an important role in legally criminalizing them and making sure host countries pay the price. This is our responsibility as Arab Information Ministers.
We stand together against abusing Islam as an ideology for furthering political ambitions. We also actively condemn those who threaten and terrorize the tolerant and peaceful countries who oppose the politicization of Islam. The fact is there are countries that believe politicization of Islam gives them political gains, especially Iran. Iran has been the founder, the primary supporter and the Godfather of terrorism since its inception. But the Iranian regime has also expanded terrorism from individual actors to a financially, militarily, and strategically supported systematic action and has made it the basis of its policy, causing devastation and destruction in our region. Iran’s political adventures based on the export of its extremist revolution have destabilized security in our Arab region and left millions of victims. Iran has made it its primary objective to export the revolution, and has abandoned any commitment to humanity and peaceful society.
We are also assured that Iran has a distinct and damaging system of influence in Arabic-speaking and international media and broadcasting within multiple Arab countries. These media outlets seek to serve Iran, and work to sway the Arab mindset in favor of Iran and its ambitions in the Arab world.
Iran’s abusive use of the Palestinian cause as a bargaining chip in the media and in politics, either directly or through its numerous proxies, has become clear. We as Arabs, including the Kingdom, are the people most concerned with the Palestinian cause. We can further this dialogue politically and in the media, in order to restore the historical rights of the Palestinian people. Our role in the media is great in this regard, to see that the Palestinians are liberated from their current oppression and help ensure the establishment of their state. We should be aware of Iran’s focused abuse of this cause in order to infiltrate the consciousness of the region and its people.
We face great challenges related to the development of media, because media has a close relationship with politics, economy, security, and social affairs. We must diagnose dangerous faults in Arab media and put forward creative solutions for our media to play its role in maximizing the value of life, instilling hope for a promising future, fighting hate speech, defending achievements, distinguishing between positive criticism and destructive attempts through misinformation, and the role of media in sustainable social development, one of the key subjects of this meeting.
I wish to extend my sincere congratulations to the brotherly State of Iraq on the occasion of the election of Baghdad as the capital of Arab media and wish our brothers in Iraq continued progress, abundance and prosperity.
In conclusion, I must emphasize that in our meeting today, as we face important subjects, I hope that we will come up with effective decisions that will have an impact on Arab media, prioritize the Arab individual, and their right to a decent life free from conflicts, chaos, terrorism, and the avarice of certain state actors.
I salute you again, and I wish all of us success in our mission.
Peace be upon you all.