KARACHI: Area Study Centre for Europe, University of Karachi, in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Foundation, Islamabad, co-hosted a two-day conference at a hotel on March 15-16, titled ‘Countering Radicalisation and Terrorism in Europe, the Middle East and South Asia in the Wake of International Migration – Moving Towards Harmony’.
Dr. Severine Minot, Assistant Professor for the Social Development & Policy (SDP) program at Habib University’s School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS), shed light on the steps towards antidiscrimination from Immigrant Crisis to Migrant Integration of the EU, during day one of the symposium.
She said that the recent surges of irregular entries into the EU, and the cumulative inflows of immigrants and asylum seekers, particularly refugees from Syria among other countries, brought the issue of their “national, cultural, economic and political integration” to the forefront of European policy and media debates.
“Refugees constitute a high need and high visibility segment of the population, which is often at the receiving end of racist, ethnic and religious discrimination.”
At Habib University, Dr. Minot teaches in the field of migration studies and cultural studies while also supporting the pedagogical objectives of the Liberal Core program. She is also conducting research on transnationalism and transnational cultural dynamics in the Middle East and South Asia.
While delivering her welcome speech of the two-day conference, Director of the Area Study Centre for Europe, UoK, Professor Dr. Uzma Shujaat said, “Terrorism is a weapon of the weak. Today the world faces a complex, significant threat beyond terrorism and that is radicalisation within the societies of Europe, Middle East and South Asia.”
The first session was chaired by a former cabinet secretary to the Government of Pakistan, Dr Masuma Hasan, and included speakers such as Ambassador of the European Union, Jean Francois Cautain, Vice Chancellor of UoK, Professor Dr Mohammad Ajmal Khan, Dr. Dietrich Reetz, Munazza Nargis Kazmi, and Dr. Severine Minot.
Speaking at the conference on the second day, Dr. Markus Heidingsfelder, Assistant Professor of Communication & Design at HU, talked about the local and international media in countering radicalization. He elucidated on the pro rata relationship between mass media audience and US President Donald Trump’s rising hatred towards the media due to controversies it brought. Dr. Heidingsfelder also stated that media coverage of casualties due to large-scale violence inappropriately favors the media in terms of viewership.
As one of the founding members of Habib University’s Center for Media & Design (CMD), Dr. Heidingsfelder’s work is interdisciplinary in scope, situated at the nexus of communication theory, sociology, and cultural studies. His teaching and scholarship efforts have been fruitful because of his ability to successfully combine academic work with his professional experience in the media industries.
The session on Day 2, “Bridging the Gap”, was concluded by former senator and federal minister Javed Jabbar, as he mentioned the need to point out the issue pertaining to the lack of leniency of wealthy Arab Gulf states of opening borders towards refugees. He showed his appreciation of the efforts by ASCE to host the conference on such an apt subject.