Ladies, Gentlemen & young people - on behalf of the Directors of the GOT Project, myself Barrie Phillips, Sheikh Mohamed Abdi Dahir and Dr Abdalla Yassin Mohamed OBE, Croeso y Caerdydd: Welcome to Cardiff. And a special welcome to those who have been part of the project - active partners and supporters - over the past three years or more. And more recently to all those here today linked to the launch who have given freely of their time and knowledge with the overall aim of promoting a more integrated, cohesive community and rejecting intolerance, hatred and violence, whatever the cause.
Looking at the guest list, we are heartened by the response to the launch of ‘Challenging Extremism’ - an interactive, broadcast quality resource by Ali Yassine which we believe to be unique in the UK for, among other attributes, its umbrella treatment of extremism and violent extremism. Over a year in the making, and funded by Welsh Assembly Government through Safer Capital, it has attracted over 40 organisations/bodies here today from across Wales and further afield from Bristol, Sheffield, Manchester and from the London boroughs of Barnet, Newham and Tower Hamlets - From local communities through to Welsh Assembly Government and UK government representation.
‘Challenging Extremism’ does not on its own hold the answer. As we are all aware, there is no single answer. Our hope is that it can serve as a ‘resource hub’ which will add value to the work we all do day-by-day, week-by-week. How it will complement your area of work will ultimately be down to you. Does it answer every situation? Most certainly not – but the good teacher/trainer/communicator knows how to extract the knowledge and understanding and apply these to local contexts to make them relevant. Press ‘Play’ and let the 9 sections or 9 workshops run through to the end will achieve little – and raise more questions than answers. For these reasons we need collaboration in high gain areas to develop associated materials and engaging workshops. Is the DVD limited by geography, by the borders of Wales? - or will it serve a broader UK purpose, or indeed as a European template? You and no doubt others will be the judge.
Let us not forget that this DVD marks the start of Phase 2 of the GOT programme – the so-called ‘Umbrella Phase’ - Phase 1 having seen the development of three strands: Schools, adults in the community with WAG and South Wales Police, and Youth & Support Services, each concentrating on the distortion of the non-violent message of the Islamic faith - by design or through ignorance - and highlighting respect and tolerance for all. In this context, I will now call on our two Islamic experts to say a few words:
Dr Abdalla Yassin Mohamed OBE:
Respect and tolerance derive in part from understanding and knowledge. GOT 1 concentrates core messages in the Qu’ran and reinforces for Muslim and non-Muslim alike that all religions preach non-violence and promote peaceful coexistence with others. People are not born evil – they become evil. Our job as parents, faith leaders, educators, governments is always to reject messages of prejudice, discrimination and hate. GOT 1 has pursued this aim. Islam preaches non-violence.
GOT 1 Director
Prynhawn Da – Croeso. Good afternoon and welcome. Phase 1 of GOT - currently being taught by Plasmawr and introduced to schools and communities across Wales - underlines the fact that Islam is a non-violent religion. Anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, who claims Islam preaches violence does so either deliberately or through ignorance. The three GOT1 programmes reveal this knowledge and understanding to all. We will now hear what pupils and their teacher from Ysgol Plasmawr say about GOT 1.