The Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) in collaboration with NATCOM on Thursday held a three-day sub-regional forum on the use of media in preaching Islamic culture in West Africa.
ISESCO and the Dawa of Sudan within the framework of their cooperation programme for 2012, funded the synergy which was held at the Baobab Holiday Resort in Bijilo.
The forum brought together 12 participants from Senegal, Mali, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Guinea Bissa with the aim to strengthen the knowledge of Islamic preachers on the use of the media for the development of a culture of peace and dialogue in the context of Islamic culture.
In his welcome remarks, Yahya Al-Matarr Jobe, the acting secretary general of the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO, said that currently, the print and electronic media are playing a significant role in informing the world about Islam. He noted that this sub-regional forum would offer innovative ideas about using them creatively to explore the role played by mass media and information technology in effectively educating people about Islamic doctrines.
He said that this makes the hosting of this invaluable forum in The Gambia at this particular time more relevant and benefiting because the year 2012 was declared the National Year of Science, Technology and Innovation by the president of the Republic.
For his part, Papa Touman Ndiaye, a representative of ISESCO, said ISESCO is pleased to join hands with Munazzamat Al-Dawa Al-Islamia in organising this training with the support of the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO. He informed that this development came about due to the good cooperation between The Gambia and ISESCO.
Abdul Ahmad Drammeh, the public relations and a representative of the Munzamat Al-Dawa Al-Islamia West Africa Region, talking about Munazamat Al-Dawa Al-Islamia and its mandate, said itis a charitable, non-governmental organisation, serving mankind in diverse areas of humanitarian services, among which are education, health, agriculture, provision of safe drinking water, personal assistance, bursary to students, support to orphans, widows and the needy families, among others.
According to him, this organisation has a long standing relationship with ISESCO in grooming the youth in becoming responsible leaders, as well as facilitating them to withstand the current challenges of the world through civic education.
For Drammeh, the use of the media is an important means of communication that plays a vital role in the lives of individuals. He expressed optimism that participants would benefit from what they would learn from this workshop and would make the best use of it in their communities.
In her official opening, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Nancy Niang expressed appreciation to be associated with this very important forum, describing it as a laudable initiative. She affirmed that the forum is meant to improve their skills of the participants in the dissemination of the values of Islamic culture in the media in a bid to strengthen the culture of peace and to promote dialogue, among others.
PS Niang however pointed out that the aim of this sub-regional forum is not to present media as a threat to their religious and cultural identity, but to explore and discuss the potentials that the mass media have if used as a tool to build an Islamic society.