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Muslim world league Secretariat General - General Department of Conferences and Organizations
OF THE XVI MAKKAH CONFERENCE
“MUSLIM YOUTH AND THE NEW MEDIA”
Organized by the MUSLIM WORLD LEAGUE
In the name of allah the most gracious the most merciful
Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the seal of all God's prophets, our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions.
With the support of Allah Almighty, the Muslim World League has concluded the 16th Makkah Conference titled: “Muslim Youth and New Media.” The event has been held on 03-04/12/1436 H, corresponding to 16-17September 2015and under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. A constellation of selected scholars and specialists in the media has participated in the conference.
His Royal Highness Prince Khalid al-Faisal, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ advisor, Governor of Makkah Region inaugurated the event with a speech. He conveyed the greetings of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bib Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud. He said His Majesty is hopeful that the Conference will succeed in analyzing the New Media’s influence. He is also confident the participants will diagnose the current situation and condition. Then, provide the best solutions to the problems. The advantages must be drawn to benefit the pure religion of Islam and defend it.
His Eminence, Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, President of the MWL’s Supreme Council delivered a speech. He said the new media with its accelerated flow on the youth requires swift action. He called on preachers and guides to exert more effort and due care to protect them. He urged relevant institutions to counteract the new media with meaningful and influential alternative.
In his speech, His Excellency the Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdelmohsin Al Turki said that this conference is one of many activities conducted by the Rabita in the areaof media. These stem from its objectives of developing the level of the media, Da’wa, and cultural involvement of Muslims and their awareness.
The participants’ speech has been delivered by Dr. Abdul Hay Azab, President of Al-Azhar University. In it, he stressed that the key to addressing youth issues and the new the media’s challenges is based on consolidating the power the Umma through unity and solidarity. Adhering to all of Islam’s fundamentals, and cooperating in removing the causes of discord and division is another goal. Hence the latter are fueled by partisanship, sectarianism, and nationalism.
In their research and discussions, the participants highlighted areas of positive new media applications that must be embraced. They also underscored the risks and pitfalls that should be avoided and wary of.
The participants praised the Rabita’schoiceof topic as the theme of the conference. They remarked that the use of the New Media is fast growing among youth, and it comes in response to our religion’s concern with them. It is also a contribution to find common understanding of the rapid shifts, which surrounds our societies. Our goal is to establish a constructive dialogue about media development and its positive and harmful impact on humanity. Our conference must produce an instruction manual on how-to guide Muslim youth to optimize their share in the new media, and at the same time implement protective measures against its negative consequences. This mustn’t be done without reinforcing and maintaining the principles of the Umma.
The participants emphasized the following:
1. it’s noteworthy to mention that even thoughfraught with substantial challenges, the new media provides many opportunities. Its positive advantages are: real-time, interactive and global outreach, and also low-cost access to technology and ease of use.
2. From the start, the speedy development of the new media hasn’t undergone any reform and planning that would determine its contexts, direct its practices and fix its behavior. The contemporary society itself has reached the highest standards of technological advancement is in need of values to restore man to his intuitive nature.
3. While the new media doesn’t instigate changes in societyon its own, it has become an important factor in producingthe requirements forchange. It has provided man with a particular view at his community and the world. It has achieved this through the news, cultural, recreational, advocacy messages, and others means.
4. The required positive contribution of scholarsand Islamic institutions must aim at streamlining the new media andinfluence youth. The latter must be provided with knowledge and strength to reinforce their cultural backbone. The aim will be to prepare them to deal safely and properly with the new media innovations and its effects.
5. Social networking achieved success to Da’wa by carrying Islam todistant frontiers. It has granted preachers key opportunities to influence and reach remote communities. It has established Da’wa channels for direct Islamic broadcasting to wider and all-inclusive audiences as well.Now preachers have the ability to impact in unprecedented proactive and impressive ways.
6. The quality and quantity of Islamic contents of the global information network don’tmatch the status within the Muslim nation. After all Allah has singled it out by its civilizational presence that calls for taking advantage of technology and strives to achieve its aspirations, and attain development and progress.
7. The use of new media by some Muslim youth has been characterized by negative habits such as: recklessness, indiscriminate judgment, and spread of rumors, exaggerations, and waste of time. This improper use may lead to some unlawful irregularities. It will also contribute to a growing sense of denial and a split from reality.
After reviewing the research and discussions, the participants at the conference recommended the following:
First: General recommendations:
The Islamic Conference has discussed available opportunities of the new media, and the conditions experienced by the Muslim Umma. Itrecognized that care must be given to the following:
1. Highlight the refined feature of Islam, which has been marked by a spirit of cooperation and fair dealing with others during the Moslem civilization era. Such step has been recommended by the Third World Islamic Conference on Media held in Jakarta in 1435 H. The latter called for "establishing tolerance and coexistence values; respect for religions in all the media, and strengthening the culture of consultation and dialogue and anti-corruption andexercising influence."
2. We must introduce and invite people to Islam, and focus on its inherent values. These call for justice, consultation, and moral values that protect the family and strengthen its position within the society.
3. Encourage media institutions to take advantage of the new media activities.Efforts must be made to present meaningful programs that will increase the level of awareness.It mustsatisfy young people’s need to religious knowledge; to understand Islam and invite to it; and halt the threateningchallenges to Islamic identity.
Second: Priorities of the New Media:
1. Coordinate and cooperate with each other. They must upgrade their proven technologies, and overcome obstacles on their way, and endeavor to deal with social media efficiently and competently. Furthermore, Islamic media institutions must find ways to enrich and improve their content. The latter must be evaluated by scholars and people of qualified opinion.
2. To address all expressions of vulgarity and eroticism, by applying censorship and banning offending to Islamic provisions andprohibit and warn against it. This measure will avoid falling into the painful wrath and punishment of Allah as stated in Sura An-Nur, verse 19: “Indeed, those who like that immorality should be spread [or publicized] among those who have believed will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows, and you do not know.”
3. Issue regulations relevant to belief and ethical aspects for the use of the new media. Confront the abusers of religious and moral values that infringe on people's lives, honor and money.Firmness must be applied when the penaltiesagainst violators have been passed.
4. Warning of cyber terrorism and itmust be regarded as criminal behavior.It represents a serious threat to the security and stability of peoples. These unscrupulous individualsexploit some naïve and gullible folksandtrick and influence them negatively. They even succeed to invade their minds and urge them to commit crimes and lead them to deviation.
Third: Recommendations relevant to Muslim Youth:
1. There is a need to recognize youth tendencies, and to develop their religious restraint. This will support their performance, and bolster their confidence in their community. Such step will improve their interaction with electronic media, and put it to use in communication and cultural dialogues. Consequently, it will achieve reconciliation and social cooperation.
2. Spreading awareness among youth will enable them become acquainted with their communities’ issues and problems. The need to find value-added concepts to the new media must be addressed. Provide critical models, which go beyond suspicion and caution, or fascination and glorification. These elements will equip Muslim youth and media professionals with an effective awareness of rationality and enlightenment.
3. Programs to raise awareness must be set and disseminated among young people. They must be equipped with knowledge and given guidance on the correct ways to use the new media. Special attention must be accorded to social networking sites, and warning about harmful ones that contradict the doctrine, ideology, morality, or societal norms and customs must be issued.
4. Youth must be enlightened about the risk involved in broadcasting any images, written or audio information. First, they should make sure that the material they will send is harmless. This should be done bearing in mind what Allah says in Quran: “When there comes to them some matter touching (Public) safety or fear, they divulge it. If they had only referred it to the Messenger, or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have tested it from them (direct). Were it not for the Grace and Mercy of Allah unto you, all but a few of you would have fallen into the clutches of Satan.” And again in Sura Al-Hujurat, verse 6, Allah advises the believers of the following: “O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done.”
5. More attention should be focused on topics tabled for discussion and research among youth than on urgent priorities. Their themesmust be linked to Islam. Then, tolerance, justice, universality, temperance, and moderation of Islam should be highlighted. This will enable us to confront unjustified smear campaigns waged by some media against Islam either deliberately or through ignorance.
6. Encourage youth charitable and communal initiatives, and improve the optimal use of the new media. This must beparticularly implemented in areas of voluntary and educational work and entrepreneurship. Youth must be given necessary care, which will help them improve earning their livelihood, and ways to reinforce the good in society.
7. Within the framework of social responsibility, the private sector’s institutions must be invited to organize competitions among young people. The former must promote positive initiatives, launch projects that will both improve and increase efficiency and performance levels of the new media patterns.
8. Care and attention must be given to analytical media education. The latter
gives the ability to assess cultural content within the web.
9. Putting a media strategy will contribute to the programming and the reform of youth activities in Muslim societies.
Fourth: Recommendationstoscholars and media organizations:
1. Strengthen the Da’wa work strategies in the digital space, including facilitating the establishment of an effective communication network. This system must link scholars and researchers; youth and media professionals together. The effort of scholars in all areas of Da’wa must be put into good use.
2. Provide suitable settings that will prevent media people with technological competencies from shunning work in this field. Workers in the media and cultural areas should be encouraged and provided with incentive and employment security to ensure they remain on the job. Provide them with material motivation that will match their responsibilities.
3. Connect youth with well renowned scholars, and promote opportunities to dialogue and exchange of opinions. Here, obligationto revamp thescholars' discourse directed to young people should be emphasized strongly. Needless to say, that this step must be taken without prejudice to religious principles.
4. They must enhance Islamic content of their Da'wa institutions, and Muslim communities networking sites. They should make attractive and interesting portals to non-Muslims to prompt them to log in and browse around. They should take advantage of the successful experiences.
Fifth: The New Islamic Media:
1. We must initiate a work theory within the media realm based on the principles of Islam and its values. These will be developedinto projects and media products.
2. The reintegration of human resources through the provisioncompatiblemedia programs and courses to respond to modern era challenges. Media workers'skills should be honedwith a focus on the intellectual side.The training to deal with new media technologies must take precedence.
3. Launching programs will boost the global presence of the Muslim media person. It should be supported with material, scientific and human potential to turn them into an influential media field.
4. Call upon the Arab and Islamic universities and their departments specializing in media studies toinstruct their research teams to take care of application difficulties. These must be turned into media products that will complement efforts in this domain. Effort should be made to train a specialized group that will give the Umma value-added knowledge and expertise.
5. Establish a supervisory body tofollow, to define and to analyze what has been published in the media, and thenreveal to relevant institutions to benefit thereof.
6. Enactprovisions thatwill encourage cultural and media production; and publish and distributethese products; issue protective laws that will defend the elements of national identity. Laws protecting the copy rights of authors andinventors must be legislated. However, counteracting cultural subordination and colonial invasion must be a priority.
7. The Arabic language must be the basis of disseminating and promoting culture. It must be given enough concern and attention andpreservation. Hence it is theessential componentof the Muslim nation and the fulcrum of its traditionalessence.
8. Abusive media content that belittles Islamic sanctities, or calls for quackery, superstition and sorcery must be downright rejected. It shouldn’t be accepted, broadcasted, or promoted through the multimedia.
9. Encourage cultural and artistic productions, and provide a meaningful alternative. Businessmen should be invited to support and fund these projects.
Sixth:The Muslim World League:
The Congress has praised the efforts of the Muslim World League in serving Islam and its media.The media institutions "Charter ofMedia Honor" in the Muslim nation, has been issued by the Third World Islamic Conference for Media, held in Jakarta in 1433 AH. This Charter has been considered the basicmedia referencedocument inthe makingof a Muslim media person. This is due to its comprehensiveness with respect to the principles and objectives of the media, which are as follows:
a) It consolidates the faith with Islam’s values of faith and its moral principles. In addition its compassionate international message is a gift to the world. Allah says in Sura Al-Anbiya, verse 107: “We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.”
b) It calls for safeguarding the Islamic identity from the negative effects of globalizations and westernization.
c) The Charter endeavors to preserve the integrity of the Muslim community’s social fabric and its cohesion. It works on to achieve a balance within the Muslim personality. Furthermore, it emphasizes the wisdom in its discourse to others. In Sura An-Nahl, verse 125, Allah describes this discourse in this way: “Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching”
d) Present the pure truth within moral limits and Shari’a dictate.
e) Ensure a responsible freedom within Shari'a perimeter; hence it is an inalienable right that shouldn’t be violated.
The Conference recommends that the Muslim World League considers the following:
1. Convenea specific scientific symposium, and invite the most prominent specialists and those interested and involved in the novel media and a group of young people. This phenomenon must be analyzed.A Study must provide correct vision and authentic approach and useful programs. These, must be put to beneficial use in new media’s goodness and immunize young people from its evil.
2. A team of specialists in strategic planning, education, modern media and education must be formed. The latter will put an elaborate scheme to enable the Umma to interact positively with new media for the benefit of Islam and Muslims. This structure must protectthe entire nation in general, and particularly youth from its negative pitfalls.
3. Coordination between the Islamic organizations and media activities must be established. Conferences should take place to draw optimum benefit from joint cooperation, and avoid duplicity thereof. The participants call on the MWLto play an influential role in strengthening the partnership between scholars and Islamic institutions and the new multimedia.
4. Islamic institutions will be urged to review the professional and ethical standards. Regulations must be enacted to avoid spreading materials that promote hate and incite extremism. Materials that incite violence and terrorism, or promote opinions,which will sow the seeds of religious division and disunity or sectarian rivalry, must be reviewed.
5. Global Islamic Media Organization should create an annual award to highlight the role of youth in the consolidation and dissemination of a culture of innovation and creativity through the ingenious use of the new media.
6. Atraining curriculum under the title: “Propagation Communication”should be added to the Muslim World League’s Institute of the preparation of Imams and preachers.Such a course will raise the level of professional aptitude of imams and preachers.
The participants at the conference expressed their thanks and gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud for his patronage of thisevent. They laud his efforts in supporting the Rabita and its activities. They also express their thanks to HRH Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; and to HRHPrince Mohammed Bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Second Crown Prince and Minister of Defense. The participants express thanks and appreciation to HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal Al-Saud,advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Governor of Makkah. They appreciate all the advantages provided to the Rabita its bodies and programs. They thank him for opening of the conference.
They thanked the MWL and its Supreme Council Chairman, and his Excellency the Secretary General for their efforts.
The participants appreciate the effort of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosquesfor the service and expansion of the two masjids. They laud the attention given by the Monarch and officials tothe martyrs’ familiesand the injured of the falling crane accident. They supplicate Allah to encompass all with his mercy and reward.
Peace and blessings of Allah be on our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions.
Released in Makkah