2019… The Year of Africa and Challenging Extremism
The World Organization for al-Azhar Graduates Represents its Achievements Locally and Internationally
-Launching "Nations without Terrorism" International Initiative… increasing the training courses offered to African scholars.
-Inaugurating al-Azhar Center to teaching the Arabic language to non-natives in Indonesia to qualify students planning to join al-Azhar University.
-Blockading the extremist ideology by publishing the writings of al-Azhar senior scholars in order to consolidate al-Azhar moderate approach.
-Inaugurating the Parliament of al-Azhar Ambassadors…… qualifying thousands of graduates to join the labor market.
The World Organization for al-Azhar Graduates, under the leadership of Prof. Ahmad at-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, announced the accomplishment of its plan for the year 2019, which has been implemented by its branches in Egypt and worldwide. The Organization asserted that it has achieved the very difficult equation to activate its strategy internally and externally by launching its initiative "2019….. A Year for Africa", where it intensified the activities, seminars, conferences and workshops to promote al-Azhar moderate approach and combat the extremist ideologies.
-2019…. A Year for Africa
In fact, the Organization enhanced its pivotal role in different African countries, in line with the call of the Egyptian political leadership to give a due care for Africa, especially Nile Basin countries. In such vein, the Organization organized several training courses for African imams and scholars, especially those whose countries suffer from terrorism and extremism, such as Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cote d'Ivoire and Mali.
In the same context, the Organization trained a number of Libyan imams and scholars during the year 2019, qualifying them to dismantle the extremist way of thinking. Additionally the Organization opened ten branches in Libya, covering its different regions, as well as organizing several effective events to raise the awareness of the Libyan people concerning the threats of extremist way of thinking.
On a related level, the Organization allocated several training courses for imams and scholars from Nile Basin countries, especially from Ethiopia, in order to assist them in understanding the true essence of Islam and to raise their awareness of the importance of the African neighborhoods that is based upon exchanging mutual interests.
In the same African vein, the Organization succeeded in making a deal with the Radio Network directed to Africa, broadcasted in local languages such as: Hausa, Swahili, Amharic, Yoruba, Afar and Somali, to host al-Azhar senior scholars in its program to clarify the true essence of Islam and its moderate message. These programs shall be translated to the African local languages mentioned above as well the Arabic, English and French languages. These programs will also host African students studying at al-Azhar University in order to transfer the bright image of Egypt and al-Azhar.
In the same context, the organization is seeking to inaugurate several branches allover Africa.
-The Spread of the Organization's Branches Locally and Abroad:
The Organization's global presence has been expanding during 2019, where it succeeded in opening 20 branches in the following countries: Nigeria, Comoros, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Cote d'Ivoire, Chad, Mali, Somalia, Cameroon, Ghana, Brunei, Sudan, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Libya and UK. In addition to that, many of al-Azhar graduates in other countries have submitted their requests to open branches of the Organization in their countries.
On the domestic level, the number of the domestic branches reached 17 branches as follows (Gharbia, Dakahlia, Sohag, Damietta, Luxor, Red Sea, Faiyum, Port Said, Beheira, Marsa Matruh, Minya, Kafr El Sheikh, Beni Suef, North Sinai, South Sinai, Alexandria and Aswan). This reflects the Organization's keenness on responding to the requests of thousands of Azharis who found in the Organization an entity that brings them together and represents their moderate thought.
-Facing extremism through laying the foundations of moderation
Within the framework of facing extremist ideologies and laying the foundations of the moderation, foreign branches of the Organization held numerous events with the aim of disseminating the Azhari approach in the Egyptian community and explaining Islamic regulations in everyday dealings.
In addition, it dedicated a number of its seminars to discussing everyday life topics and guiding people, especially with regards to issues related to: women, water rationalization, drug control, dealing with rumors, bullying, fighting cancer, disadvantages of the internet and welfare of the blind.
-Training international students and imams:
The Organization spared no effort in training imams and scholars from various countries on mechanisms of confronting and refuting extremist ideologies as well as laying the foundations of moderation. In 2019, it held training courses for imams from India, Pakistan, Libya, Kurdistan Region, Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
-World positive reaction to the initiative of "Nations without Terrorism"
Springing from the Organization's keenness on confronting terrorism and extremism as well as disseminating the culture of peaceful coexistence, it launched a world initiative entitled "Nations without Terrorism". The initiative encompassed religious, behavioral, intellectual, social, ethical, political and economic aspects. Numerous countries reacted positively to it and the Organization's domestic and foreign branches held conferences, seminars and workshops that go with the theme of the initiative.
Simultaneously, numerous forums were held such as: "Nations without Terrorism: Towards Mutual Cooperation". This forum was held in cooperation with Bibliotheca Alexandria and was attended by leaders of Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif and Christian denominations. In addition, the forum of "Terrorism and Strategies of Media Misleading" was attended by professors of mass media as well as university students.
-Electronic platforms and publications for challenging extremist thought
The Organization published 22 books for refuting extremist thought as well as a digital magazine entitled "Harvest" to demolish ideologies of extremist groups and launched an infographic electronic campaign consisting of 30 episodes with the aim of refuting misleading extremist thoughts.
-Shaykh Zayed Center for Teaching Arabic to Non-Natives
Shaykh Zayed Center for Teaching Arabic to Non-Natives succeeded in drawing the attention of students worldwide who are planning to join Al-Azhar University. The number of students joining the Center has been increasing since 2010. Moreover, it qualifies international students and equips them with the moderate approach before joining the University. A branch of the Center was inaugurated in Indonesia, as part of the Organization's efforts to establish branches of the Center in different countries, and the first batch graduated of it.
-The Project of al-Azhar Ambassadors Qualifies thousands of Azharis for the Labor Market
The success of the project which aims to qualify and develop Azhari students, personnel and teaching staff, are continuing locally and internationally with the most important qualifications (technology - communication - management - media - culture) and the most modern training tools to enhance the role of social responsibility of al-Azhar in communicating with different segments of society to confront the extremist thoughts and strengthen the culture of dialogue, networking and participating with the governmental institutions, civil society, and private sector. Furthermore, the project, in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, provided scholarships to 5000 Azharis, in which 10000 students were trained in specialized and qualifying programs, such as computer, vocational, negotiation, and communication skills. Besides, it held also English online courses in 17 faculties for 600 trainees. In the framework of celebrating the International Women’s Day, 1000 female students were qualified to increase awareness of Azhari women on communal and cultural levels as well as supporting them in carrying out small projects.
Furthermore, the Parliament of al-Azhar Ambassadors was inaugurated with the participation of 120 students, in addition to the training courses of e-marketing, in cooperation with the institution of “Ingaz Misr” for 2500 students.
-Conferences and workshops:
The Organization held many conferences, seminars, and workshops aiming to propagate the moderate Azhari approach and confronting the extremist thought. It organized, in cooperation with the Franciscans in Egypt, a peace dialogue on the 2nd of March 2019 “Dialogue of Peace Tranquility... in the presence of leaders of al-Azhar, the World Organization for al-Azhar Graduates, some representatives of the Franciscan Catholic monks in Egypt and abroad from the countries of Palestine, Italy, Turkey, Morocco, Colombia, Canada, Pakistan, Niger, Benin, and Poland. That was a clear confirmation of strengthening the concept of peaceful coexistence advocated by Islam and Christianity. It is worth mentioning that the modern era witnessed a strong awakening between the wise people and the people of heavenly religions to confirm this concept. The Organization held also the annual international workshop “Living Together in Peace toward Building Cohesive Societies” in cooperation with the League of the Arab States and UNESCO in Cairo. On the sidelines of “Nations Without Terrorism” initiative, the media forum of the project of al-Azhar Ambassadors was organized entitled “Terrorism and Strategies of Misinformation” with the participation of a select group of media professors in the most prestigious Egyptian universities to affirm the necessity of intensifying efforts to protect youth from the terrorist and extremist group.
- “Ar-Ruwaq” and “Noor” react to the Year of Africa:
The publications of the Organization reacted to the message of dedicating 2019 as the year of Africa through its magazine “ar-Ruwaq” which is published in many languages; it issued a special supplement for Africa to educate the African students, to dismantle the extremist thought and to refute the fallacies and distortions which are echoed by enemies of moderation. Furthermore, the magazine opened its doors to the African International students to write in its pages.
It is worth mentioning that “Noor Magazine” for children, issued by the Organization succeeded in a first-of-its-kind initiative hosting the first workshop for African children aiming to support rapprochement among peoples to coincide with Egypt assuming the presidency of the African Union. The workshop witnessed reviewing the skills of children including poetry, painting, religious and nationalist songs that express the various artistic activities in the African continent. At the end of the workshop, al-Azhar Deputy met with the African children and their families. He urged them to draw on the sciences of al-Azhar to raise their children on how to improve their country and continent Moreover, the magazine launched a website to cover various parts of the world.