PARIS, 28th January 2016 (WAM) – Dr. Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), received the Award of European Press for the Arab World 2015, which is awarded by the Association of European Press for the Arab World (APEMA) in collaboration with the Institute of Prospects and Security in Europe (IPSE).
The Award was handed out at a ceremony held on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 on the sidelines of a symposium on political Islam organized and hosted by the French Parliament to discuss Dr. Al Suwaidi’s book The Mirage.
Dr. Al Suwaidi expressed his gratitude for this recognition, stressing that it encourages him to work harder and exert more efforts to counter terrorism and extremism with enlightened thoughts.
Nidal Choukair, President of APEMA, stressed that Dr. Al Suwaidi was honored in recognition of his high intellectual status and because he was the first to promote the modern concept of think tanks in the Arab world. He added that APEMA is pleased to confer this Award on Dr. Al Suwaidi in appreciation of his efforts to serve society and decision makers. MP Philippe Folliot, Secretary of the French Parliament’s Defence Committee and President of the Egyptian-French Friendship Group stated that the award was conferred on Dr. Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi in recognition of his efforts over the years in the field of research, culminating with writing The Mirage– an encyclopaedia on political Islam.
Dr. Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi and Mr. Nidal Choukair were the two main speakers of the “Political Islam” symposium, which addressed the threats of terrorism and extremism around the world and ways to counter them. The Symposium was attended by several French MPs, including MP Philippe Folliot, and MP Jacques Myard, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, along with other French and European politicians, scholars, experts and Arab and French journalists.
Speaking at the symposium, Dr. Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi thanked the French parliament for the invitation and praised the special relations between the UAE and France. He stressed that such intellectual forums help bridge the gap between nations and cultures, explaining that the message he is sending to the world through The Mirage is the importance of raising awareness about the dangers of political religious groups. He pointed out that the book deals with a very important topic for the international community, namely the danger of political religious groups and their use of religion to mask their real intentions.
Dr. Al Suwaidi explained that the practices of these groups are destroying the ideological and intellectual heritage of the whole world. Hence, an immediate action is required at intellectual, academic, economic and media levels, along with military efforts. He emphasized the importance of focusing on the role of thoughts in countering terrorism and fighting extremism, calling on the elites in the Arab and Muslim world and other countries to raise people’s awareness, confront these groups intellectually and deprive them of any opportunity to promote their ideology.
On his part, Nidal Choukair, talked about political Islam, the extremist and jihadi groups, their practices that threaten not only the Arab and Muslim worlds, but the rest of the world as well as their distortion of Islam’s image. Choukair reiterated the importance of distinguishing between Islam’s true nature which promotes tolerance and compassion and the flawed ideology disseminated by those groups in the name of Islam.
Choukair underscored the need for the international community to work together to counter such groups, eradicate their extreme ideas, and eliminate them altogether; in this regard, he lauded the role of the United Arab Emirates that adopts, under its wise leadership and enlightened thinking, an integrated, comprehensive strategy to counter terrorism and extremism.
Choukair described Le Mirage as “a rare intellectual experience;” he reiterated that “this book, with its regional and international dimensions, can be regarded a message from the United Arab Emirates to the world warning against the scourge of political religious groups. He commended the effort made by Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi in writing the book and his keenness to ensure his ideas reach different nations, peoples and communities.
At the end of the seminar, Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi signed copies of Le Mirage and gave them to the parliamentarians, politicians, academics, intellectuals and journalists that were in attendance.
Following the seminar, Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi met with the MP Jacques Myard, and Enrico Letta, former Italian Prime Minister, Dean of the Paris School of International relations at the University of Political Science in Paris.
Dr. Al-Suwaidi discussed the latest developments in the Middle East and the world, the dangers and threats that are related to the rising of political religious groups. All attendees reiterated the need to exert more international efforts to promote different narrative to counter terrorism and extremism. Attendees also highlighted the importance of the intellectual discourse to Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi’s book Le Mirage, which addresses this issue in depth. It is considered an important reference to all researchers and academics interested in these issues and a road map for world leaders and decision-makers on how to deal with political religious groups.
Later, Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi took a tour of the French Senate, guided by His Excellency Jean-Marie Bockel, a member of the French senate for the Union of Democrats and Independents party.
Dr. Al-Suwaidi visited the main hall of the Senate, its library and historical features. Bockel lauded Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi’s effort in promoting enlightened political thoughts in the fight against extremist religious groups and their practices. At the end of the tour, Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi gave H.E. Jean-Marie Bockel a copy of Le Mirage and a memento.
Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi concluded the second day of his visit to France with a meeting with Arab and foreign journalists, who belong to a number of widespread French and Arabic newspapers, namely “La Croix” and “L’opinion” French newspapers, and the Arabic ones “Al-Ahram” and “Akhabr Al Yawm”. They discussed the ongoing developments in the Middle East and the world.
At the end of the meeting, Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi gifted copies of Le Mirage to the journalists and the audience.