Ahmed Fahour, Australia's envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said the family unit plays a vital role in countering radicalism and he urged Muslims across the globe to stand up for their communities amidst increasing threats of extremism. (JG Photo/Sheany)

Family Unit Essential to Tackling Radicalism: Australia's Envoy to OIC

BY :SHEANY

JULY 19, 2017

Jakarta. Ahmed Fahour, Australia's special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, said the family unit plays a vital role in countering radicalism and he urged Muslims across the globe to stand up for their communities amidst increasing threats of extremism.

"We as Muslims must stand up for ourselves before we ask others to stand for us. Our job, first and foremost, is to deal with and take care of our own, who are the ones causing these problems," Fahour said in Jakarta on Wednesday (19/07).

He added that terrorists fighting in the name of Islam do not represent the majority of the Muslim world.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Pondok Pesantren Darunnajah Islamic boarding school in Jakarta, Fahour also emphasized the importance of the family unit to prevent radicalization.

"The best way to prevent terrorism and extremism is to make all members of society feel included. To [make them] feel like that they have something in life worth living for," Fahour said.

The envoy described many of the young people joining radical terrorist groups such as the Islamic State as lost youths who struggle to feel a connection and a sense of belonging to society.

Therefore, the role of family as well as society is more strategic than ever to prevent people from becoming radicalized.

Fahour, who arrived in Jakarta on Tuesday, is scheduled to meet with various government officials, business leaders and religious figures during his weeklong visit.

After his visit to Pesantren Darunnajah, Fahour met with Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Nasaruddin Umar, grand imam of Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta.

As Australia's special envoy to the OIC, Fahour is tasked with identifying opportunities for cooperation with the organization to advance several of his country's interests, including countering violent extremism, promoting interfaith dialogue and boosting trade relations with member states.

The envoy told the Jakarta Globe that he has met with Alwi Shihab, Indonesia's special envoy to the OIC and the Middle East. They discussed Indonesia-Australia relations, including trade, investment and people-to-people exchange.

Fahour said he is in Indonesia to promote and discuss the idea of what Muslims are like in Australia, citing the Islamic Museum of Australia in Melbourne as an example of how the Muslim community has contributed to that country.

"And I wanted to also learn about what it is that happens here in Indonesia that makes Indonesia such a prosperous and successful nation [...] I think the rest of the world has a lot to learn from this democratic, peaceful nation, and how you bring culture and Islam together in a very harmonious way for men and women," Fahour said.

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