For Immediate Release
Rehman Chishti MP Nominated for Grassroot Diplomat Award in Countering Extremist Propaganda
London, UK – April 20, 2016 – Rehman Chishti MP for Gillingham and Rainham has been shortlisted from over 100 politicians this year for the 4th Annual Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award. The award recognises outstanding politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business overall. A dedicated campaigner in the fight against extremism, Mr Chishti has been nominated for successfully influencing the government to refer to the terrorist group, the so-called Islamic State as “Daesh”.
This terrorist group has linked itself to Islam in order to gain legitimacy. Its heinous attacks in the name of Islam has propelled public fear and paranoia against Muslims, misrepresenting the message of Islam and the religion itself on a global scale.
Since February 2015, Mr Chishti has been running a high profile campaign to convince the Government and the media to refer to the so called Islamic State as “Daesh”. The use of the titles Islamic State, ISIL and ISIS gives legitimacy to a terrorist organisation that is neither Islamic nor a state. Daesh distorts the peaceful religion of Islam for its own violent and extremist ends, and misleads the public into wrongly believing their actions are representing Islam.
In liaison with several Ambassadors including those representing Turkey, Kuwait, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and UAE, along with the Secretary-General of the Arab League and military experts, Mr Chishti has worked to persuade the government to adopt “Daesh” as part of their lexicon. This is intended to reduce its references to Islam and to help repair community cohesion.
The term “Daesh” holds negative connotations in Arabic and means “one who sows discord” which had been adopted by several Middle Eastern countries, as well as Turkey, Australia and France.
Mr Chishti said: “Getting the terminology right is an important part in our campaign to defeat this terrorist group. Calling them Daesh helps to tackle their self-proclaimed legitimacy, appeal and propaganda, which has been sucking in vulnerable people around the world. Daesh wants to create the perception of a war between Islam and the West, which must be challenged. Whilst military action can contain and degrade them, we need to tackle their propaganda to defeat them.”
In June 2015, Mr Chishti submitted a letter to the Prime Minister and to the BBC calling for this change. His letter was backed by 120 MPs from across the political spectrum, including the Mayor of London, the former First Minister of Scotland and the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee. Over 170 MPs eventually signed up to support the campaign – more than a quarter of the House of Commons. The campaign received widespread media coverage including the front pages of The Times and the Daily Telegraph. Mr Chishti also raised this issue in Parliament with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, where he insisted that Britain joins its international allies to help defeat the group’s poisonous propaganda campaign and deprive it of the legitimacy it seeks.
After several months of campaigning, in December 2015, the Prime Minister said on the floor of the House that after strong representation, it is “time to follow our key ally France, the Arab League and other members of the international community in using, as frequently as possible, the terminology Daesh.”
Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Executive Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “All too often, we hear stories of our governments not representing our needs but Grassroot Diplomat looks upon selfless individuals in positions of power, who work tirelessly for their communities. The award seeks to create a culture of positive role models within our governments which encourages others like them to follow suit. Grassroot Diplomat winners go beyond their job descriptions and those shortlisted for the award should be proud to be recognised this far.”
While Mr Chishti’s efforts have been successful within the government, he continues to work hard to influence the media to fully adopt Daesh into their lexicon. Although they have not officially adopted the term, the BBC has decided to add caveats to ensure that their audience understands the group’s agenda.
Join Rehman Chishti MP and other government nominees for the gala dinner at The May Fair Hotel, London on Wednesday 20th April, 2016. For ticket information please visit: http://www.grassrootdiplomat.org/book-tickets or call 07511 816689.
Further details about the awards can be found on: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/annual-awards
About Grassroot Diplomat
Grassroot Diplomat is a non-profit diplomatic consultancy with the mission to build trust and strengthen relationships between governments and civil society. As an independent agency, Grassroot Diplomat shows no allegiance to a solitary government but will act in the interest of the people, no matter where they are or what state their country is in. We focus on improving public diplomacy activities by engaging government officials on sustainable social campaigns and investment projects that offers a positive rate of return for their people.
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