Jan 13, 2015

AMMAN — HRH Prince Hassan has called for galvanising “efforts to ensure that policies are put in place that ensure and promote the role of communities and end users in natural resources management”.

“Anthropolitics, or a politics of humanity, must take centre stage in the Middle East to restore respect for human dignity,” the prince said in a keynote speech he delivered at a dinner and discussion in London on Monday, according to a statement sent to The Jordan Times by the event’s organisers.

“Such policies must engage the political, economic and civic pillars of society, producing a momentous shift from oil- and military-driven agendas in our region towards stabilisation architectures that enable citizens to become stakeholders,” the statement quoted Prince Hassan as saying.

The event, titled “Key Political and Humanitarian Challenges in the Middle East”, was organised by Islamic Relief and the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) at the Church House Conference Centre in Westminster.

The event took place “as the region grapples with its worst humanitarian crisis yet. Over 29 million people required humanitarian assistance last year, and there is no end in sight to the bloody conflicts in Syria and Iraq and the political stand-off between Israel and the Palestinians,” the statement said.

Former UK minister of state for international development, Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, the second keynote speaker, and the prince addressed the major political and humanitarian challenges facing the Middle East at the event, which brought together “a select audience of diplomats, politicians, academics, faith leaders and community activists”.

The two keynote speakers debated the way forward with Islamic Relief CEO Mohamed Ashmawey and Caabu Director Chris Doyle.

Mehdi Hasan, political director of the Huffington Post UK, hosted the event and chaired the debate, the statement said.

“I call on all Muslims, and indeed all people, to be united in their utter condemnation of last week’s murderous atrocity in Paris. I similarly call on everyone in the UK to stand united against terrorism, and not to drop our standards by taking it out on any of our own citizens who happen to be Muslim,” Sir Alan Duncan said in his speech.

“We must all be determined to take a vigorous stand against terror and extremism, but we are not in some sort of war against Muslims in general. What we oppose is so-called Islamic extremism and terrorism in all its forms,” he added.

“Supporting humanitarian relief in Syria is to be applauded, but going there to fight should be condemned. We should all work together to increase the former and stop the latter. The UK desperately needs an enhanced political focus on our own 3 million Muslims, and they should figure strongly in our electioneering. The best weapon against home-grown terror and misguided jihadism is a united society in our own country.”

Extending his condolences to the families of those killed in Paris, Ashmawey expressed solidarity with the people of France.

“Islamic Relief works in war-torn Syria and Iraq, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen — the poorest country in the Middle East. Our staff bear witness to acute suffering and deprivation in all these places, and risk their lives to deliver humanitarian aid in the most inhospitable and hard-to-reach areas,” he told attendees.

“Much more needs to be done to improve humanitarian access, to protect civilians and to make diplomatic progress towards ending conflict — because ultimately there are no lasting humanitarian solutions to political problems.”

Meanwhile, Doyle called for political progress to address humanitarian concerns.

“The appalling humanitarian disasters in the Middle East — not least Syria, Palestine and Iraq — cannot be resolved without viable political solutions. Caabu is anxious to see Britain taking a lead in the international community to bring an end to these conflicts.

“Without political progress, there will be four or even five million Syrian refugees, more wars on Gaza and sadly even more radical extremism. Standing on the sidelines and watching cannot be an option.”