(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) "The more the battle against extremism intensifies, the more determined I am to defeat it, armed with Arab and Islamic culture, and with nothing to hide," His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has said.
The only solution to the current situation is restoring the "true, peaceful faith which ensures stability, security and the ability to produce knowledge and culture", he added.
He was speaking during an interaction with senior Emirati journalists at the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) pavilion at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany on Thursday.
He highlighted the importance of taking part in different international fairs and exhibitions which provide platforms to communicate with other cultures, enhance dialogue and promote the literary and scientific values of the Arab and Islamic world.
The challenges that Sharjah faced in championing cultural projects served as motivation to continue its progress, Dr Sheikh Sultan said.
The most effective way to face "negative forces" is through education as this will empower individuals and develop their critical thinking and decision making skills, he said.
He said that Sharjah was named World Book Capital 2019 in appreciation of its efforts to promote books as a prime source of culture, intellect and science. Books, he said, act as messengers of wisdom not only for the UAE, but for the Arab and Islamic world.
He detailed his cultural vision of building a knowledge-based society and creating generations "blessed with ethics, meaningful education and scientific knowledge".
Sharjah's educational institutions are dedicated to ensuring children have access to the highest quality education.
Dr Sheikh Sultan stressed the role of the Sharjah Children Centres, Sharjah Youth Centres and Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah in protecting children and young adults, as well as developing their scientific, intellectual, creative and personal skills.
Challenges media face
On the impact of media, Dr Sheikh Sultan noted that money presents an ongoing challenge, whether it is newspapers, TV or radio. He said that content and programming were suffering because some media professionals had a primary mission to improve ratings and readerships in order to raise advertising revenues, regardless of the impact on quality.
He also underscored the importance of supporting authors, illustrators, publishers and other experts to develop the quality and quantity of literature. He applauded Sharjah's cultural initiatives to restore confidence and support intellectuals in the Arab world - many of whom had been disheartened with a lack of respect and recognition.
He stressed that one of the most significant cultural aspects of European countries is that many of the institutions are not funded by governments, but supported by private donations from organisations and individuals. He added that it is important such funding should be monitored.
Academy of performing arts
He spoke about the Sharjah Academy of Performing Arts, which will include acting, dancing, performing and singing. He noted that the inauguration ceremony of the academy will feature a theatrical performance - a play he wrote that addresses the Holy Quran. He described the holy book as "the true light that guides people to peace and love, and the true religious reference, without which people will be distracted to the wrong path and will see degradation and darkness."
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