Ciné-ONU: Living Among the Believers

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Cine ONU CinemaGaleries Among the Believers Article

In December 2002, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) declared May 21st as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. This day offers us the opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and advance the four goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

To mark this day, Ciné-ONU screened the film ‘Among the Believers’, introduced by Paolo Fontani (Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels) at Cinema Galeries, Brussels on 18 May 2017. The film documents the Red Mosque madrassa network in Pakistan run by Abdul Aziz Ghazi, a self-proclaimed ISIS supporter and Taliban ally. It depicts the complex relationship between poverty, religion and failing authorities, allowing Aziz’s network of schools to spread extremist ideologies and anti-government sentiment.

Paolo Fontani UNESCO EU and Deborah Seward UNRIC Article

The United Nations Security Council has increasingly highlighted the importance of education as a means of countering and preventing the spread of terrorism and violent extremism.

Following the film, there was a short video by director Hemal Trivedi, providing an update on the issues discussed in the documentary (which was first released in 2015).

Panellists L R Ferran Lloveras Moad El Boudaati Veronique Roy Deborah Seward Article

Moderated by Deborah Seward (Director of UNRIC), the panel discussion held after the screening featured Moad El Boudaati (Prevention and Community Outreach Specialist in Brussels), Ferran Josep Lloveras (External Relations and Cooperation Officer for UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights), and Véronique Roy Burin (a member of Mothers4Life and an activist in the prevention of radicalisation).

Having worked with radicalized youths in prisons in Belgium, Moad El Boudaati emphasized, “it’s difficult to change an idea” but, “you can teach them to express themselves differently and non-violently.”

Both Ferran Josep Lloveras and Moad El Boudaati agreed that communication and an open dialogue is essential for prevention and bringing communities together.

The audience were especially engaged in the conversation, with many audience members interested in learning how to help prevent the radicalization of young people. Both Ferran and Moad agreed that while we must “think globally, we must act locally”.

To close the discussion, Véronique Roy Burin, whose son Quentin was “radicalised” and died as a foreign fighter in Syria, told the audience that, “Love and education is the only way to live with other people, even if they are different.”

The handout from our event is available here.

For more info on ‘Among the Believers’ please click here.

Want to learn more about World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development?

Missed the screening? You can find more information about the film and future screenings here!

Why not have a look at event photos on our Flickr?

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