Thank you, Mr. President.
The UAE would like to thank H.E. Mr. Sameh Shoukry, Foreign Minister of Egypt, for presiding over this important debate, and acknowledge the central and historical role that Egypt plays in maintaining international peace and security. My country commends the important role of Al Azhar University, an intellectual and cultural beacon for centuries throughout the Islamic and Arab worlds, in countering radicalization. Further, we would like to welcome the adoption of the Presidential statement earlier today.
The international community recognizes that extremism has transcended national borders and has become a global phenomenon. We, therefore, welcome the efforts aimed at developing a comprehensive international strategy to get rid of this scourge.
Extremist groups have exploited the unresolved conflicts in our region, and used the region as safe havens. These groups that have no association to Islam threaten the stability of the region and undermine its security.
We acknowledge the importance of society’s participation in state-building, especially the population under 25 years old, which constitutes 50% of Arab societies, and is targeted by the extremist groups that exploit their grievances. In addition, our strategy empowers women and integrates them into decision-making, including efforts to combat extremism.
Based on the concept of moderation, coexistence and tolerance throughout society, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, issued a decree to combat discrimination and hatred. We also support efforts to and foster a number of relevant initiatives aimed at reforming the religious narrative and returning to the noble vision of Islam.
Additionally, education plays a significant role in countering extremism. We need to promote research and religious scholarship to develop effective curricula for all levels of education and to build the resilience and capacity of governments and communities. That is why the UAE hosts the Hedayah Centre for countering violent extremism and the Muslim Council of Elders, chaired by the sheikh of Al-Azhar University, which aims to address the root causes of sectarianism.
We also need to develop ways to combat the new online recruitment tactics used by extremists. To that end, the UAE established, in collaboration with the US, the Sawab Centre to combat extremist messages through social media.
Furthermore, in terms of policy development, the entities we host are dedicated to building multi-stakeholder efforts to map, identify and remove the drivers of extremism. We are also keen to organize workshops with government officials and experts in the technology sector to share information, and to encourage the development of counter-narratives, including the perspectives of female former Foreign Terrorist Fighters
The Arab region has historically exemplified pluralism and co-existence. Today, we call for a return to that model and vision. Let me offer some recommendations for action to achieve this objective:
- First: the Security Council must apply a single standard to all actors, all states and all perpetrators of occupation, state terrorism and foreign interference.
- Second: the international community, including the private sector, must increase efforts to implement relevant existing norms, including Resolution 2178.
- Third: we must discuss how best to rehabilitate and reintegrate foreign fighters who are defecting from extremist groups and returning to their countries.
- Fourth: we must work to improve the economic and social context for young people, create job opportunities, protect their rights and engage them in building the future of their countries.
Finally, we look forward to the recommendations that will be proposed in June in the context of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy review. I would like to reiterate that the UAE believes in the importance of countering extremism before it becomes violent, in an urgent and comprehensive manner. I would also like to express our appreciation for this important debate, and wish Egypt continued success for its Presidency this month.
Than you, Mr. President.