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Democratic Security in a time of extremism and violence Conference

All democratic societies that value the liberties of their citizens, are content to declare that a crime is an act, not a thought, and is punished after the fact, and indeed have constructed elaborate legal and judicial procedures to ensure that police and prosecutors actually punish the guilty party after proving that they are responsible “beyond a reasonable doubt”. They prefer to let a guilty party go free than to incarcerate an innocent person. Terrorism poses a different challenge. The public wants the government to prevent the act of terror from occurring. To prevent an act from happening will require broadened surveillance and police powers to act on suspicions of conspiracy rather than to await that terrorists execute an act of terror and then capture the guilty party. That sets us on a dangerous path, where our liberties at risk. Recall the US “Patriot Act” passed after 9/11 to give government powers to fight a “War on Terror” begat Guantanamo, preventative detention, torture and the systematic murder by drone attacks. Where does the right balance lie? Does it differ from country to country? These are the questions that the Conference seeks to explore. However, it must also be emphasized that whatever the decisions that are reached by individual governments, ultimately terrorism shall be defeated through cultural confrontation, defeating extremist ideas with ideas of openness and pluralism. The rising problem of terrorism on both sides of the Mediterranean does not only pose military and security challenges, it also raises a fundamental set of cultural challenges. For in the end, the violent extremists among the religious zealots and the political movements that are devoted to terrorism as a means of achieving their aims, all need to be defeated in the realm of ideas. Their views must be exposed for the sham that they are and their positions must be marginalized so that their appeal to younger generations is minimized. This set of tasks is important for all governments, and constitute a basis for collaboration between the governments on both sides of the Mediterranean and beyond to all the civilized countries of the world.

Day 1

Opening Session
Adel El-Beltagy, Boris Tadic, George Ivanov, Ismail Serageldin, Moushira Khattab, Olusegun Obasanjo
Terrorism and the Constitution – A Framework for Action
Abdulaziz Altwaijri, Amine Gemayel, Amr Moussa, Heba El-Rafey, Ivo Josipovic, Petar Stoyanov, Tahany El-Gebaly
The Constitutions of all civilized countries guarantee the fundamental Human Rights of the citizens. Thus fundamental rights (free speech, freedom of assembly, the right to more..
A Review of Past Experience
Khaled Azab, Lobna Shattab, Rosalia Arteaga Serrano , Shahira Amin
Since 9/11 the “War on Terror” has been the dominant form of confrontation between the civilized world and the merchants of hate and the artisans of terror. But there were other more..
Day 2

Current Perspectives: The Muslim-Majority Countries
Abdel Moneim Said, Farida El-Choubachy, Hisham El-Sherif, Naseem Ahmad Shah, Taher Masri
Clearly however, there is a cleavage between Muslims and non-Muslims almost everywhere. And even though the vast majority of the 1400 million Muslims in the world are peaceful, more..
Current Perspectives: The Western Countries
Emil Constantenescu, Hossam Badrawi, Kazuo Takahashi, Petru Lucinschi, Rexhep Meidani, Viktor Yushchenko
Scratch the surface of security and you get a prompt abridgement of liberty. Those who practice the politics of fear and hate expound populist promises of security and economic more..
Proposals for Action: In the Muslim world
Farida Allaghi, Mohamed Mehanna, Mohammed Hassan, Mostafa El-Feky, Shahira Amin, Zlatko Lagumdzija
The Arab and Muslim Worlds are in a paroxysm of violence and chaos; of collapsing states and rising militias; of terrorism and horrors beyond description; of countless victims and more..
Inter-Religious Dialogue, The Case of Egypt
Amna Nosseir, Bishop Ermia, Farida El-Choubachy, Mahmoud Hamdy Zakzouk, Mohamed Kamal Eldin Emam, Sameh Fawzy
Egypt, is a key country in the Middle East and North Africa Region, and a country that has confronted extremists and terrorists before, and is continuing to do so at present. Egypt more..
Proposals for Action: In the Western World
Alexander Likhotal, Boris Tadic, Eka Tkeshelashvili, Kazuo Takahashi, Valdis Zatlers
The challenges in Europe, where societies must adapt to having significant Muslim minorities in their midst, pose difficult problems and will require imaginative solutions. But more..
Taking Stock: A Roundtable Discussion
Heba El-Rafey, Kazuo Takahashi, Noha Omar, Shahira Amin
Having ranged far and wide in the preceding sessions we will try to have a roundtable that will organize the most promising ideas emerging from these discussions. Thus the more..
Closing Session
Ismail Serageldin