The King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND) is stepping up efforts to boost national cohesion and societal interaction with the aim of combating deviant thoughts and enhancing societal bond.
The center announced on Thursday that it would launch a new initiative on Saturday — “Talahom” — which entails meetings aimed at enhancing principles and values of coexistence and national unity, as well as challenging extremist thoughts, according to Abdullah Al-Mutlaq, KACND’s chairman of the board of trustees.
The first such interactions will take place in Al-Jouf. They will continue for five days and similar meetings will also be held in other Saudi cities.
Al-Mutlaq, who is a member of the Supreme Religious Council, said the meetings will work toward highlighting the concept of tolerance and solidarity among members of society and will include discussions on extremist ideologies.
Expressing appreciation for those who support the center’s efforts, KACND Secretary-General Faisal Al-Muammar stressed the importance of such meetings as a first step of the center’s multiple projects that will be run by KACND during the current year.
He said these kinds of projects support efforts to preserve and enhance the country’s security and strengthen national unity based on national values.
Addressing a press conference in Riyadh on Wednesday, Al-Muammar said the initiative is one of several planned for this year to inculcate in people the culture of dialogue.
After Al-Jouf, he said, the meetings would be held in Jazan, Qassim, Hail and Tabuk. Later, such interactions will be held throughout the Kingdom.
“What prompted KACND to organize weekly dialogues for the Talahom project is the importance attached to the community participation at all levels to support security and intellectual efforts and promote moderation.”
He emphasized the importance of protection of national unity and people’s participation in nation building through comprehensive development goals, especially in light of the negative or wrong information some social media outlets promote.
“Rumors and promoting inaccurate information, especially on social media sites, has become a threat to communal harmony; these tools are at times exploited to spread lies and challenge the stability of the community, especially among youths,” said Al-Mutlaq.
He stressed the need to “overcome distrust in order to face current and future challenges in the region.”
The Talahom program aims to support security and intellectual efforts that aim to reduce extremism, he added.
The strategy is in line with efforts to protect and develop the nation and achieve the objectives of Vision 2030.
The meetings will see participation of top scholars, leading thinkers and young men and women from every region of the Kingdom.