United Against Sectarian Fanaticism (UASF) has announced its inaugural international conference under the theme ‘I Am A Human: Building a Culture of Coexistence’.
Organised in collaboration with the Centre for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Sabahattin Zaim University in Istanbul, the one-day conference is due to take place on 18 November.
Chair of the Conference’s Preparatory Committee, Dr Anas Altikriti, emphasised the aim of bringing together researchers and individuals interested in confronting the challenges of the racist and sectarian prejudice epidemic, and the promoting of a culture of coexistence under one roof through an open academic and intellectual dialogue, allowing the exchange of ideas to shape a better future for our nations.
“If we do not overcome our differences and transcend these diseases, we risk regressing further decades into the past, and will be unable to overcome the obstacles and challenges of our contemporary reality,” Altikriti said.
Head of the Conference’s Scientific Committee, Dr Omar Al-Rawabhi, confirmed that the committee has received approximately 30 peer-reviewed scholarly papers in the fields of sectarianism and racism, and is continuously working on selecting the most prominent papers which are to be presented at the conference.
The gravity of sectarian and racial manifestations that have evolved into a societal culture and collective behaviour, pose a greater danger than the official aspect of the phenomenon itself.
“Within this context, historical sectarian and racial narratives play a negative role in perpetuating polarisation among sects and diverse groups within a single nation. In addition, educational curricula that contain sectarian and racial content are likened to planting explosives set to detonate in the future minds of the young who had been saturated with it, and who may even bear arms to protect these taught ‘ideals’,” a statement released about the conference says.
The Conference’s organisers hope that the Conference will produce practical outcomes and recommendations that will aid in extinguishing the escalating flames of sectarian and racial prejudice in the MENA region, encompassing all Arab countries as well as neighbouring states such as Iran, Turkiye and countries of the African coast.