Our Vision on Dialogue and the Arab World

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1. The need for fair reporting

Dialogue is not only needed in countries of the southern Mediterranean but also between southern Mediterranean countries and Europe. Misreporting on Muslim-Christian relations in these countries fosters stereotypes of non-Muslims against Muslims and vice versa. Correct information and media critique are thus essential tools to reduce inter communal tensions and a dialogue on real issues of concern.
Our focus on the Arab-World has been clouded for many years by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has caused a lack of knowledge and understanding of the region outside this certainly major issue of concern. For this reason little was known about the great injustices of dictatorships in various countries and the importance of religion and the culture of honor and shame in these countries. Due to the European focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict many other conflicts went by largely unnoticed, many of these were in particular related to religion, and social patters such as honor and shame. For this reason our focus is on pluralism and mutual respect of peoples belonging to different religious and cultural traditions.
2. Peace-building
A long-term sustainable solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be hard to obtain but is urgently needed, not only because both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to live in peace and justice but also because wars and conflict have resulted in death, displacement and the waste of economic resources. In the Middle East the world's largest fuel reserves are to be found which has led to outside interference but at the same time in turn, added to instability and antagonism in the Arab world. The Middle East needs peace, justice for all, stability and economic development.
3. Islamism
Continued injustice and violence has greatly contributed to the growth of Islamic movements which are often strongly antagonistic toward the West because of its perceived injustice in dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, supporting dictatorships until the last moment and Islamophobe expressions of some politicians and media. Europeans need to realize that Islamists have widespread support from large sections of the population in various countries and thus need to communicate with their representatives. 
Egypt had between June 30, 2012, and June 30, 2013, in president Morsi an Islamist president. Islamists occupied major positions in government but faced an intense opposition from strong factions in society against the growth of Islamist influence which has led to a strong polarization between Islamists and non-Islamists which in turn has hampered efforts to address major economic issues that Egypt faces. A major popular uprising resulted in the deposal of president Morsi, major violence and deep tensions in society. One year later political Islamists have been driven underground but no healing has taken place.
The Arab-West Foundation therefore not only advocates a dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean region but also between representatives of major ideological groups and movements in different countries.
There is much insecurity and violence in several parts of the Arab region. We reject the claim of many Islamophobes that argue that this violence is inherent in Islam. Islamic scriptures are, just as scriptures in other religions are, interpreted in multiple ways: in ways that suit militant groups but also in ways that show openness to other cultures and beliefs. Falsely claiming that Islam is inherently violent only strengthens the feeling that Islam is under attack, which turns Muslims into extremists.
4. Extremism
The main characteristic of extremists is not that they are conservatively religious as some want us to believe but extremists lack respect for people with different beliefs and want to be isolated from those people, often because they see no use in dialogue and do not want their thoughts to be challenged by others. Our initiative wants to break isolationists tendencies because only this will counter extremism.
5. Political openness
Many regimes lack transparency, decisions are made without providing their populations with reasons. This has been changing since the Arab Spring. In some places the media is gaining ground and some signs of political openness can be seen. But there are also indications that result in fear for greater restrictions. It should be possible that those in power are criticized in the press but on the other hand distortions and lies are often deliberately spread about opponents which deeply harms trust in media reporting. Countries are in transition. This development toward greater openness and greater responsibility in accurate reporting should be encouraged. 
6. Economic and social development
Economic and social development in the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) region has stagnated. Government services for their populations have declined. Religious groups have stepped in to provide these services largely along religious lines and often missionary oriented, aimed at making people belonging to their own religion more religious. This has naturally strengthened religious groups in society.
7. Emigration of Christian minorities
The percentage of Christians is declining in all Middle Eastern countries. Some countries that had large Christian populations only one hundred years ago today hardly have any Christians left at all. This trend is the consequence of violence and poor economic and social progress. The growth of Islamism has resulted in anti-Christian polemics of some preachers, discrimination and at time violence against Christians and fears among Christians for a future in a country dominated by Islamists.