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Jordan’s Prince Hassan and former minister Sir Alan Duncan debate Middle East challenges as region faces its worst humanitarian crisis yet

Jordan’s Prince Hassan and former minister Sir Alan Duncan debate Middle East challenges as region faces its worst humanitarian crisis yet

His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan and the former UK Minister of State for International Development, Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, will address the major political and humanitarian challenges facing the Middle East on January 12 at a London event bringing together a select audience of diplomats, politicians, academics, faith leaders and community activists.


Key Political and Humanitarian Challenges in the Middle East – a dinner and discussion organised by Islamic Relief and the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) at  Church House Conference Centre in Westminster – is taking place as the region grapples with its worst humanitarian crisis yet. Over 29 million people required humanitarian assistance last year, and there is no end in sight to the bloody conflicts in Syria and Iraq and the political stand-off between Israel and the Palestinians.


The two keynote speakers will debate the way forward with Islamic Relief’s CEO, Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, and Caabu Director Chris Doyle. The evening will be hosted and the debate chaired by Mehdi Hasan, Political Director of the Huffington Post UK.


HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal will say in his speech: “Anthropolitics, or a politics of humanity, must take centre stage in the Middle East to restore respect for human dignity. We must galvanise efforts to ensure that policies are put in place that ensure and promote the role of communities and end-users in natural resources management.

“Such policies must engage the political, economic and civic pillars of society, producing a momentous shift from oil and military driven agendas in our region towards stabilisation architectures that enable citizens to become stakeholders.”

Sir Alan Duncan will say: “I call on all Muslims, and indeed all people, to be united in their utter condemnation of last week’s murderous atrocity in Paris. I similarly call on everyone in the UK to stand united against terrorism, and not to drop our standards by taking it out on any of our own citizens who happen to be Muslim. We must all be determined to take a vigorous stand against terror and extremism, but we are not in some sort of war against Muslims in general. What we oppose is so-called Islamic extremism, and terrorism in all its forms.


“Supporting humanitarian relief in Syria is to be applauded, but going there to fight should be condemned. We should all work together to increase the former, and stop the latter. The UK desperately needs an enhanced political focus on our own 3 million Muslims, and they should figure strongly in our electioneering. The best weapon against home-grown terror and misguided jihadism is a united society in our own country.”


Dr Mohamed Ashmawey will extend his condolences to the families of those killed in Paris, express solidarity with the people of France and speak about Islamic Relief’s work in the Middle East: “Islamic Relief works in war-torn Syria and Iraq, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen – the poorest country in the Middle East. Our staff bear witness to acute suffering and deprivation in all these places, and risk their lives to deliver humanitarian aid in the most inhospitable and hard-to-reach areas.


“Much more needs to be done to improve humanitarian access, to protect civilians and to make diplomatic progress towards ending conflict – because ultimately there are no lasting humanitarian solutions to political problems.”


Chris Doyle will urge political progress to address humanitarian concerns: “The appalling humanitarian disasters in the Middle East – not least Syria, Palestine and Iraq – cannot be resolved without viable political solutions. Caabu is anxious to see Britain taking a lead in the international community to bring an end to these conflicts.


“Without political progress, there will be four or even five million Syrian refugees, more wars on Gaza and sadly even more radical extremism. Standing on the sidelines and watching cannot be an option.”




Martin Cottingham ([email protected] / 07702-940982).




  1. Islamic Relief is an international aid and development agency and the world’s largest independent Muslim charity. It works to alleviate poverty and suffering in over 30 countries, mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As well as responding to disasters and emergencies, Islamic Relief promotes sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities – regardless of race, religion or gender. Islamic Relief is one of the 13 UK charities that form the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) – see
  2. Caabu is one of the leading organisations working in British politics with a focus on the Arab world, aiming to advance conflict resolution, civil society and human rights through informed debate and mutual understanding.
  3. In 2014 Islamic Relief’s global income reached a record £173m and it implemented aid and development programmes totalling £155m worldwide. In the Middle East alone its programmes totalled £93m and benefited over 5 million people in Syria (2.2m), Yemen (1.2m), the Palestinian Territories (530,000), Iraq (470,000), Lebanon (400,000) and Jordan (270,000).

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