The Gulf Research Center will hold
a one-day workshop entitled:
“ Confronting Terror – Promoting the Arab-British Partnership”
28 July, 2005
Carlton Towers Hotel, London, UK
The terrorist atrocities committed in London on July 7th 2005 were a horrific act of cowardice and a crime against humanity. The Arab and Islamic world stand fully behind the United Kingdom in its fight to bring the perpetrators of this act to justice and wish to offer all possible solidarity and support to overcome those who willfully abuse the name of Islam for their immoral agendas.
It is with this conviction that the Gulf Research Center (GRC) is hosting a one-day workshop on July 28th 2005 in London. We are hosting this event, at which Arab and British diplomats, governmental officials and counter-terrorism experts are invited to exchange ideas and better understand the themes that define the fight against terrorism today. It is our hope and wish that the solidarity we feel with the United Kingdom as it responds to these atrocities should not pass without comment and action. We believe that in order to face this challenge, we must work to transform this tragic experience into greater cooperation and understanding.
As the events of the past few years have shown, we are all victims of terrorism. From New York to Madrid and London, from Morocco to Istanbul and Bali as well as the Gulf countries, the war against terror is a global war that affects all our futures. Terrorists do not distinguish between Arabs and Westerners, Muslims and non-Muslims – these are imaginary lines that should not divide us either. We fully stand behind the findings of the UN High Level Panel of December 2004 and the words of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that “terrorism is a threat to all states and to all peoples, which can strike anytime, anywhere.”
The workshop will address two main themes;
• On the political level, addressing the impact of terrorism and how we can overcome this threat,
• On the practical level, tackling critical co-operative measures that need to be undertaken together to fight terrorism on every front
Workshop Language will be English. No translation service will be provided.
Opening Remarks by Abdulaziz Sager
Chairman, Gulf Research Center:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the Gulf Research Center and to thank you for being here with us on such short notice.
Three weeks ago to this day, Londoners woke up to shocking news. Something described a year beforehand as being "inevitable" by London's Chief of Metropolitan Police had arrived - the city had suffered a terrorist attack.
Although the events of Thursday, the 7th of July resulted in the loss of dozens of innocent lives, scores of serious causalities and great deal of unnecessary physical damage, the perpetrators of this immoral deed aimed at far more than human or physical damage in planning this criminal act.
The real casualty, they hoped, would lie beyond the visible impact of the bombs. Their target was to undermine the trust, the cordial relations, and the harmony within multi-racial British society and to inflict deep and permanent damage to Arab and Moslem relations with the United Kingdom in particular and with the Western states and societies in general.
Today, we meet to send clear message to whoever planned this barbaric act. We meet as representatives of Arabs, Britons and Westerners regardless of our religious beliefs, to convey the message to those responsible for this attack that we will work relentlessly to undermine their strategy and foil their objectives.
As a Gulf and Arab think-tank, the GRC sensed an urgent need to organize this event. This meeting represents a modest endeavor to pass on a message of solidarity coming from the heart of the Arab and Moslem world. It aims to share with the British people and British government their revulsion at this act and to say that there can be no religious, moral, or political justification for the murder of innocent people.
This workshop was inspired by the feeling that after the attacks in both London and other cities around the world, no-one is safe; we are all in one boat and all of us live under the shadow and the threat of international terrorism.
Terrorism today does not recognize geographical and political borders, nationality, race, or religion. It is an act of blind and indiscriminate killing.
Let me take this opportunity to express my sincere admiration of the British popular and official reaction and response to the attack, which can only be described as calm, calculated and professional. Rather than panic and make rash decisions – which is what those responsible would have wanted – the authorities on the scene made sure their behavior was exemplary.
Our discussions during this workshop will focus on two major themes. The first part of the meeting will consist of two sessions and will cover political dimensions of the incident. The British view point and response to the terror attacks will be given in the first session followed by speakers from the Arab and Islamic world and the Gulf region. The third and fourth sessions will focus on the practical questions of counter-terrorism and will include a discussion of efforts and strategies required in this field. We hope to cast some light on the crucial question of terrorist organization recruitment strategies and end the discussion with prospects for promoting Arab–British cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism.
We are grateful to all of you who accepted our invitation and greatly appreciate the generosity of the speakers who agreed to share their thoughts with us. We look forward to a fruitful and enlightening session.