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Articles > Islam in mass media > KazanSummit combats ISIS with counterpropaganda, education and symbols

International Economic Summit of Russia and OIC countries called “Russia — Islamic World: KazanSummit 2016” started on Thursday in Kazan. Within its framework the participants of the conference on information opposition to the terroristic organization of ISIS sought a way to combat the propaganda of extremism. They suggested eliminating negative statements about Islam in media and avoiding the word “Islamic” when talking about terrorists. The participants also suggested that government officials should study the basics of Islam, and that the media materials should get approval from spiritual leaders and intelligence agencies before being published.

About 100 scholars, journalists and analysts from Russia and foreign countries attended the conference. They were divided into 12 roundtables; each of them was supposed to give an opinion as to what the authorities, media and Muslim community should do in order to combat the propaganda of terrorists.

The participants mainly suggested not mentioning negative information about Islam in media. Kamil Samigullin, mufti of the Tatarstan Republic, said that the media shouldn't use blood and atrocity to their advantage, they should give more positive news to destroy the ISIS image. He also said the words “Islamic state” should not be applied to terrorists in order to avoid association with Islam. This idea was supported by the deputy mufti, Rafik Muhametshin. “We should say “the so-called Islamic state”, — he said.

The mufti of Tatarstan noted that the ISIS was “of Western descent”. In his opinion, “Europeans prefer more showy, bloody things, and they get it from the ISIS”. “It has nothing to do with the Eastern origins, this is another disguise of the Western inquisition”, — he said, adding that the West “feeds” the ISIS in order to “defame Islam”.

The conference participants insisted that the media should not broadcast the atrocities of the ISIS. Galina Hizrieva, chief editor of the Islam.Ru portal, said: “Blood is not necessary for persuasion. Islam shouldn’t be used for intimidation”. Anna Belikova from Russia Today said that all words such as “Islamic” and “Muslim” should be excluded when talking about terrorist attacks. The attendees argued for omitting the words “jihad” and “shahid” from media materials, giving a wider coverage of repented ISIS members, and emphasizing that the terrorists were “criminals, thugs, sick in the head”. “The information must be filtered”, — said sheikh Abdurazzak As-Saadi, Professor of the Jordan University. His idea was developed by Said Shagaviev, head of the social thought history and Islamic studies department in the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences.

The participants have elaborated recommendations for the authorities. Kamil Samigullin suggested formulating a strategy regarding inter-faith relations, as well as “a state programme for combatting the ISIS”. Many speakers expressed a wish that government officials should cite some verses from the Qur’an in their speeches. Niyaz Sabirov, representative of the Tatarstan muftiyat, reminded that Vladimir Putin quoted a Qur’anic verse at the opening ceremony of the Cathedral Mosque in Moscow.  

As for the Muslim community, Rafik Muhametshin said their leaders should become more active in social networks. According to the scholar Farid Salman’s opinion, “a preachers’ programme should be developed so that they could reach out”. Niyaz Sabirov suggested that the religious leaders could cooperate with secular educational institutions in order to shed light on Islam there. The organizers of round tables intend to summarize all the suggestions and to include them in the final declaration of the conference.

KazanSummit will continue until the 21st May.

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