Saudi filmmakers and actors pose for a group picture with their awards on the last day of the Saudi Film Festival at Saudi culture center in the City of Dammam, some 400 km east of the capital Riyadh, on Feb. 24, 2015. (AFP)
Young Canadian Woman Joins ISIS Militants in Syria
Egypt Clerics Reject ISIL Manifesto on Women
Australia Warns Women, Islamic State No 'Romantic Adventure'
ISIS Executes 3 Women, Arrests 13 Others for Refusing to Marry Fighters
National Geographic ‘Afghan Girl’ In Pakistan Papers Probe
Syria Girls: Trio 'Not Radicalised' At Bethnal Green Academy
An Instagram Post Could Put Former Miss Turkey Behind Bars
Two Saudi Female Students Set To Compete At Henkel Challenge Finals in Austria
19-Year-Old Twin Sisters Fight with Pro-Russian Rebels in Ukraine
Saudi Youth Group Performs At German Cultural Show
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Woman Wins Award For Best Drama at Saudi Film Festival
26 February 2015
DAMMAM — It was a scene cut out from the script of either the Academy Awards function or Cannes Festival and if it sounds a bit of exaggeration then surely it reminded of a glittering award ceremony at Bollywood.
The 600-capacity Hall at the Saudi Art and Culture Centre in Dammam on Tuesday night was packed with more than 800 men and women clapping and cheering for the winners of the various categories at the Saudi Film Festival.
The five-day festival, which concluded Tuesday night, was only the second in seven years.
Saudi woman filmmaker Hana Al-Omair took the Golden Palm Tree prize for her drama "Complain" (Shikwah), said Abdullah Al-Eyaf, the head of the festival jury on Wednesday.
Shikwah tells the story of a hospital worker who lodges a complaint against a colleague, an act symbolizing everything wrong in her life.
Al-Omair said she will the prize money of SR180,000 to finance her future project.
Another woman, Shahad Ameen, won second prize in the drama category for "Eye & Mermaid", a fantasy about a girl who discovers her father has tortured a mermaid to extract beautiful black pearls.
Mohanna Abdullah took third place for his film "Adam's Ant", the story of a prisoner who tries to befriend an ant in his cell.
The Golden Palm Tree for best documentary went to Faisal Al-Otaibi for "Grand Marriage". It recounts a two-week wedding ceremony taking place in the Comoros.
In the student category, Mohammed Al-Faraj also earned one of the golden stylized palm tree trophies for "Lost," a documentary about stateless people living in Saudi Arabia.
Abbas Al-Hayek took top prize for best unproduced script.
Over five days of the festival, 66 films were screened and several workshops conducted on various aspects of filmmaking. It brought together acclaimed critics, writers and artists from across the region.
Al-Eyaf hailed the high quality of entries despite several obstacles the participants faced.
Himself a prize-winning film-maker, Al-Eyaf said Saudi Arabia has emerged a winner "for having all this talent".
Ali Al-Hussein, one of the young directors taking part in the festival, believed there is still plenty of room for improvement.
According to the young filmmaker, more film academies are needed to train and educate those interested in the industry.
Effat University came in for big praise as it is offering courses relevant to film making.
Ahmad Al-Mulla, director of the festival, expressed his satisfaction over the success of the event and said the youth of today was all set to contribute in this medium of communication. He said that the response to the festival was beyond expectation.
Young Canadian woman joins ISIS militants in Syria
26 February 2015
A young Canadian woman abruptly left her family to join the Islamic State group in Syria after purportedly being radicalized while studying religion online, public broadcaster CBC said Wednesday.
The 23-year-old's sister told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that the woman had taken an online course to study the Koran, but reportedly learned how to get to the ISIS-controlled city of Raqqa in Syria to join the extremist group.
One day in mid-2014 she just left.
Canada's spy agency warned the family that their daughter had been "interacting with people they thought were dangerous and were influencing her in a negative way," according to the sister.
But the warning, she said, was "very vague" and not heeded in time.
It comes as the Canadian government is set to grant sweeping powers to its spy agency to thwart terror plots and disrupt suspected extremists' travel plans, such as preventing them from boarding a plane to join a banned group abroad.
Egypt clerics reject ISIL manifesto on women
26 February 2015
A new manifesto on women issued by the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) which sets out guidelines governing their life and role in Islam has been roundly rejected by religious scholars and the Egyptian public.
The al-Khansaa Brigade , an all-female wing of ISIL in Syria, issued the 10,000 word manifesto in Arabic last month.
The document, titled, "Women in the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study", has been translated and analysed by Charlie Winter, a researcher on jihadism in Syria and Iraq at Quilliam, a British counter-extremism foundation.
According to the manifesto, which stresses women's role as wives, mothers and housewives, it is considered "legitimate" for girls to be married between the ages of 9 and 17.
"The fundamental function of a woman is to stay at home with her husband and children, but [she] could leave the house to serve the community under exceptional circumstances, such as jihad in the absence of men, or to study religion," it states.
A woman can get an education, the document says, but the curricula must focus on Islamic studies, the Qur'an, the Arabic language, cooking and sewing and other skills that prepare her for the role of wife and mother.
A woman’s movements also are heavily restricted and she is prohibited from traveling for any reason, the document says, and she must remember at all times that she comes second to a man.
"No matter what she does, she will not be able to prove that she is more intelligent and skilled than a man," the document says.
"Women who go out to work acquire corrupt ideas and incorrect beliefs rather than religion," the manifesto continues, noting that the model used by "infidels" failed the moment women were liberated.
ISIL disapproves of the Muslim community's preoccupation "with trying to unravel the secrets of nature and reaching the pinnacle of architectural sophistication", the manifesto adds, suggesting that "instead, it should focus on the application of sharia and spreading Islam".
MANIFESTO BEARS 'NO RELATION TO ISLAM'
Ibrahim Negm, adviser to Egypt's Grand Mufti , told Al-Shorfa that ISIL’s leaders and supporters " abuse women and exploit them to the worst degree to achieve lowly purposes and objectives that bear no relation whatsoever to Islam".
The group's violations and transgressions against women "have no connection to any religion whatsoever", he said. "These barbaric acts and violations existed before Islam, until Islam came and prohibited them."
"These takfiri groups operate on the principle of abolishing others of different opinions, religion or gender, which confirms how far removed these organisations are from the teachings and principles of Islam which brought equality to women," Negm said.
ISIL has expanded its exploitation of women, now using them to help enlist new recruits, and has turned women into "prisoners of war and sex slaves sold to the highest bidder", Negm said.
Islam disavows the ideology of takfiri groups such as ISIL whose manifesto completely contradicts Islam, said Ahmed Omar Hashem, a member of Al-Azhar's Council of Senior Scholars.
For example, he said, "sharia permits women to work within the regulatory rules governing [work], including the ethics that govern their profession with the stipulation that they do not conflict with the provisions of sharia".
A woman works in order to ease the burdens of living on the members of her family, he said, and this originates in the Qur'an's message that a woman is a man's partner and has family obligations and household duties.
Al-Azhar University professor of philosophy and comparative jurisprudence Amna Noseir said that ISIL "falsifies and distorts religion".
"Islam respects women and preserves their role in community-building and building the country," she said, adding that in his final sermon, Prophet Mohammed enjoined men to care for women and safeguard their rights.
According to a 2014 poll conducted by the Pew Research Centre, ISIL's ideology will find little support among the Egyptian public.
The poll indicated that 81% of Egyptians reject the ideology of extremist groups, and about 75% expressed concern that extremist ideas might undermine regional security.
'A DEATH SENTENCE FOR ALL WOMEN'
"I cannot imagine my life without a job outside the house unless there is a need [for me] to take care of my children," said Amira Abdel-Hakam, 28, who works for a private sector food company.
"Islam urges me to be pro-active in building my country, and to take care of my family by all means," she said. "My work helps me do that."
"Everyone at my workplace respects and appreciates me," she said. "I was even [named] exemplary employee last year, and this is difficult for ISIL to understand because a woman to those groups is merely a body."
"ISIL's ideas are a myth and have no basis in reality or Islam whatsoever," she added. "If Islam were so, it would have ended thousands of years ago."
"ISIL's manifesto for women is a death sentence for all women," said Hanan Zaki, 43, who works in the public service sector.
Zaki was particularly scornful of the manifesto's rulings on early marriage.
"How can a 12-year-old, or even a 15-year-old, take care of a nursing baby?" she said, adding that a mother is highly influential in a child's life, and marriage at such an early age will produce children who lag behind their peers.
"My husband is a very devout Muslim, yet he has encouraged me to work since we got married more than 20 years ago," Zaki said. "He also encouraged me to get a master's degree in administrative sciences in order to get top positions at the ministry where I work."
Her 19-year-old daughter wants to be an agricultural engineer, she added, yet that has not stopped her from memorising the Qur'an and studying sharia via courses offered by an Al-Azhar-affiliated centre.
"I think this will make her a wonderful Muslim mother and I am very proud of her," Zaki said. "How can ISIL ask us to sacrifice this positive energy for mere ideas that have nothing to do with Islam?"
Suad Mohamed Amer, 72, a grandmother of 10, told Al-Shorfa she never imagined she would see Islam distorted in this way.
"Sharia gives women a role in all walks of life so she may serve her family and her country," Amer said. "But treating women as something that must be silenced dates back to before Islam, to the Jahiliyyah eras."
"God blessed me with the gift of grandchildren, both girls and boys, but we rely more on the girls because they are all highly educated and have a great sense of responsibility," she said. "They are the ones who manage the family’s financial affairs."
"I cannot imagine my life with them just sitting at home, ignorant, and there just to take care of the children," she said.
Australia Warns Women, Islamic State No 'Romantic Adventure'
26 February 2015
SYDNEY: A worrying number of Australian women are heading to Iraq and Syria to become so-called Islamic State group "jihadi brides", Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said today, warning against notions of a "romantic adventure".
At least 110 Australians have left to fight alongside militants in the Middle East and security officials said between 30 and 40 women were among them or were actively supporting the group in Australia.
"Sadly we are seeing a younger cohort seeking to join the conflict in Syria and Iraq and an increasing number of young females," Bishop said, responding to the high-profile case this week of three British teenage girls heading to Syria.
"This defies logic. Family and friends need to reach out to young people at risk before it's too late."
She cited the case of 22-year-old Amira Karroum who left her Sydney home just before Christmas and died in fighting in Syria.
"Her death was not martyrdom, it was a tragic senseless loss," said Bishop.
She added that many women heading to conflict zones were either attracted to male foreign terrorist fighters, were accompanying their partner, or actually looking for a husband and being told online they could find one in Syria and Iraq.
Bishop warned they faced a brutal regime that treated women appallingly.
"This is a terrorist organisation that has an appalling track record when it comes to women," she told ABC radio.
"They actually have online instructions on how to treat a sex slave.
They encourage sexual assault on children who haven't even reached puberty.
"So their attitude towards women is utterly appalling and so young women shouldn't be led to believe that there's some romantic adventure attached to supporting Daesh (Islamic State) and similar terrorist organisations."
An estimated 550 women from across Europe have also travelled to join the jihadists and Bishop said Australia was working with Muslim communities to highlight the risks.
"We have a number of community initiatives and programmes, working with local communities, working with schools, working with families," she said.
"Our initiatives in tackling the spread of online extremist content on websites is also part of that, working with local mosques, working with community groups."
Her comments came as an Australian man who travelled to Syria to battle militants was reportedly killed, the first Westerner to die fighting alongside the Kurds.
"An Australian man was killed in an assault on Tuesday by the Islamic State against a position of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) near Tal Hamis in Hasakeh province," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman.
Australia's foreign affairs department said it was aware of the reports but its "capacity to confirm reports of deaths in either Syria or Iraq is extremely limited".
"Australians who become involved in overseas conflicts are putting their own lives in mortal danger," it added.
ISIS Executes 3 Women, Arrests 13 Others for Refusing to Marry Fighters
26 February 2015
The Islamic State terrorist group executed three women and arrested 13 other females in the group's Iraqi stronghold of Mosul on Sunday, after the women refused to get married to ISIS militants.
A Kurdistan Democratic Party official from Mosul, Saed Mamuzini, informed the Kurdish news site BasNews.com on Monday that ISIS continues to kidnap and kill women within its strongholds who refuse to marry fighters.
"On sunday, IS (another name for ISIS) militants arrested 13 women in Mosul and later held them in unknown locations," Mamuzini explained. "The woman were kidnapped because they refused nikah (Muslim marriage) with the jihadists."
Mamuzini also disclosed that three other women were executed at the ISIS base of Ghazlan, in the southwest region of the city, because of their refusal of marriage.
The news of sunday's arrests and executions comes after seven women were executed at the Ghazlan base on Jan. 24 for also refusing to marry militants.
Mamuzini told BasNews in January that ISIS is demanding that women accept marriage to the fighters, or else they will suffer the consequences.
"Many women refuse to have sex with ISIS militants, in which cases they are arrested. The militants often kill them," Mamuzini said. "Today, seven women from Mosul were killed at the IS base of Ghazlan."
The report adds that to encourage women to marry militants, ISIS tells females that having marital sex with ISIS fighters is considered "jihad for women," or sexual jihad. A recent manifesto released by ISIS' all female police brigade states that girls as young as 9 years old are eligible to marry ISIS fighters.
As the killing of women who refuse marriage is becoming a systemic occurrence under ISIS' rule, Foundation for Defense of Democracies human rights analyst Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi told The Christian Post that the militant group "pretends" that its actions are justified under Islamic laws.
"Even the most barbaric acts they have been engaged in, they always seek some sort of Islamic jurists endorsement to their behavior. Before they burned alive the Jordanian pilot, they went out to find some Islamic scholar that told them it was OK to do so," Ottolenghi explained.
"I am pretty sure that if that is what they are doing systematically, there must be somebody who has told them that its OK," Ottolenghi continued. "They are brutal enough to where it is in character with all the other actions they have taken. They will always try to pretend that whatever violence they engage in, they find an explanation in Islamic law."
The Islamic State's execution of women due to their refusal to marry jihadis is not limited to just the Mosul region.
In December, the Iraq's Human Rights Ministry announced the Islamic State executed over 150 women and girls in the Anbar province because they declined to marry jihadis or become sex slaves.
"At least 150 females, including pregnant women, were executed in Fallujah… after they refused to accept jihad marriage," a statement from the Human Rights Ministry reads. "Many families were also forced to migrate from the province's northern town of Al-Wafa after hundreds of residents received death threats."
The Iraqi Human Rights Ministry statement added that the execution of the 150 women was carried out by one ISIS fighter who goes by the name Abu Anas al-Libi. Libi is not to be confused with the alleged Al Qaeda operative who died in January at a hospital in the United States after being charged with involvement in bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa.
National Geographic ‘Afghan girl’ in Pakistan papers probe
26 February 2015
Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed “Afghan girl” immortalised in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers.
The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine’s history.
After a 17-year search, McCurry tracked Gula down to a remote Afghan village in 2002 where she was living married to a baker and the mother of three daughters.
Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April 2014, using the name Sharbat Bibi.
She was one of thousands of Afghan refugees who managed to dodge Pakistan’s computerised system and to get an identity card last year.
Faik Ali Chachar, a spokesman for the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), said the Federal Investigation Agency was probing Gula’s case.
“This is one of the thousands of cases which was detected last year and sent to the FIA. We are waiting for the findings of the inquiry,” Chachar said.
“Our vigilance department detected (the) Sharbat Bibi case in August 2014 and sent it to FIA for further investigation the same month.”
Many Afghan refugees try to get Pakistani ID cards every day using fake documents, Chachar said.
“Around 23,000 cards of Afghan refugees were detected and blocked” in the 12 years since NADRA was launched, Chachar said.
In her official registration with NADRA, Gula said she was born in January 1969 and gave Peshawar as her place of birth.
The photo attached to the application has the same piercing green eyes and the same sculpted face seen in McCurry’s famous image only older, lined by age and surrounded by a black hijab covering her hair completely.
An foreign news agency reporter visited the poor Peshawar neighbourhood given as Gula’s address in her papers, where residents said she had been living with her husband, who worked in a local bakery, but had left a month ago.
A senior official in NADRA’s Peshawar office, where the cards were issued, confirmed the investigation and told that Sharbat Bibi and her two sons Rauf Khan and Wali Khan were issued cards on the same day.
He said all the documents she used to get the card, which only Pakistani citizens are entitled to, were fake and her “sons” were likely also not related to her.
Syria girls: Trio 'not radicalised' at Bethnal Green Academy
26 February 2015
There is no evidence that three girls, thought to be heading to Syria to join Islamic State, were radicalised at school, their principal has said.
Mark Keary said pupils cannot access Twitter or Facebook on Bethnal Green Academy computers.
"Police have advised us there is no evidence radicalisation took place at the academy," he said.
Shamima Begum, Amira Abase, both 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, flew from London to Turkey on Tuesday.
UK police officers have gone to Turkey but their role has not been confirmed.
The girls were all studying for their GCSEs at the east London school, which reopened on Monday after half term.
The head teacher said the school was "shocked and saddened" by the girls' disappearance.
"This situation follows the earlier disappearance of a student in December of last year," he said.
"The police spoke to the student's friends at that time and, further to this, they indicated there was no evidence the girls were at risk of being radicalised or absconding."
Mr Keary said it was business as usual for the 1,200 pupils and staff, although "a full programme of briefing sessions" with police and counter-radicalisation groups was available.
"The priority for all of us is the safe return of the girls," he added.
The girls boarded a Turkish Airlines flight from Gatwick, and would have needed a visa for Turkey and a passport.
It has emerged that Shamima used the passport of her 17-year-old sister Aklima to travel.
Security services have been criticised after it emerged that, before leaving the UK, Shamima sent a Twitter message to Aqsa Mahmood, who left Glasgow for Syria in 2013 to marry an Islamic State fighter.
According to a lawyer for Ms Mahmood's family, her Twitter account has been "monitored" by police since she left Britain.
He said authorities should have seen Shamima's message and taken action before she and her two friends followed.
Their families have made appeals for them to come home.
Another of Shamima's sisters, Renu Begum, said she hoped her sister had gone to Syria to bring back the girl who had gone there from Bethnal Green Academy in December.
Ms Begum said Shamima and her friends were "young" and "vulnerable" and if anyone had tried to persuade them to go to Syria it was a "cruel and evil" thing to do.
'We miss you'
Amira's father, Abase Hussen, said: "The message we have for Amira is to get back home.
"We miss you. We cannot stop crying. Please think twice. Don't go to Syria."
In an appeal to Kadiza, her sister, Halima Khanom, said: "Find the courage in your heart to contact us and let us know that you are safe and you are OK.
"That is all we ask of you."
An Instagram post could put former Miss Turkey behind bars
26 February 2015
Former model Merve Buyuksarac, who was crowned Miss Turkey in 2006, may be facing jail time for slandering the Turkish president, reports Washington Post.
On Wednesday, Buyuksarac's attorney told the media that an Istanbul prosecutor is aiming to take her to court for insulting a public official. If she is found guilty of the offence, she could face up to four and a half years in prison, according to AFP.
Although Buyuksarac works as an industrial designer and writer now, she still remains popular on social media platforms such as Instagram with 15,000 followers and more than double on Twitter. Prosecutor claims that her insult against the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had appeared in an Instagram post from last summer, which was a picture of a satirical poem taken from a magazine.
In her testimony, Buyuksarac said she may have quoted a poem called the “Master's Poem” from weekly Turkish satirical magazine Uykusuz.
"I shared it because it was funny to me," she added. She denies that she meant to insult the president.
Insulting Erdoğan is obviously not taken lightly in Turkey. Over 60 people have been charged for their mocking him in the last seven months alone. Recently,16-year-old high school student was arrested after making a speech in which he described Erdoğan as "the thieving owner of the illegal palace."
The court is due to decide whether to start full legal proceedings against the model and a trial.
Two Saudi female students set to compete at Henkel Challenge Finals in Austria
26 February 2015
JEDDAH — The semifinals of the Henkel Innovation Challenge held on Feb. 19, 2015 in Dubai declared Team Eco-Gent the winners for their innovative and sustainable concept. They will go on to the international finals, which will take place on April 8-11, 2015 in Vienna, Austria.
The concept of Henkel’s Innovation Challenge is simple. Build a team of 2 students, create an innovative concept, be coached by Henkel mentors, compete with students around the world, learn about sustainability, and bring your creative and strategic management skills to the next level.
In the GCC semifinals, hosted in Le Meridian JBR in Dubai, attended by Henkel President in GCC Erdem Kocak, students came up with ambitious ideas such as GLISS ID (1st runner) the first hair care customization machine, ReVhy (2nd runner) a customizable spray that cleans the body empowered by a smartphone app and QHQ, an adhesives pen that closes and heals the wounds.
he winners were Team Persil Eco-Gent (Ohoud AlArifi and Maha Aba AlKhail) from Al Yamamah University for their concept: A detergent that cleans both water and clothes, where water is recycled and can be reused. “It is a privilege to be able to participate in a prestigious competition like this and present our ideas in front of a jury of this caliber. Winning was just the icing on the cake,” said Ohoud AlArifi from team Persil Eco-gent.
“The Henkel Innovation Challenge is one of several Henkel initiatives designed to celebrate innovation. Our aim is to recognize and nurture young talent and recruit them as new members of the Henkel family,” said Derya Ersin, Head of Human Resources GCC.
Now in its eighth year, the challenge attracts participants from 30 countries. In the GCC semi-finals, the eight participating teams represented various institutions of higher education in GCC, including Al Yamamah University of KSA, the American University of Sharjah and the Carnegie Mellon University of Qatar. The event began with welcome speeches from jury members greeting the participants.
For the challenge, participants had to register online as a team of 2 students and submit their idea for an innovative and sustainable product or technology for any Henkel brand in 2050.
19-year-old twin sisters fight with pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine
26 February 2015
Two teenage twins are fighting alongside pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine and have garnered international media attention.
Twins Anya and Katya, 19, have fought with the Donetsk People's Republic since October, the Daily Mail reports.
In a series of photos by the Getty agency, the twins are seen at a base near the town of Mariupol.
The teenagers were snapped playing on their mobile phones while sitting between two male fighters.
They were also photographed alongside Ukrainian flags seized in Debaltseve, a transport hub.
Meanwhile last week, Ukraine accused Moscow of sending more tanks and troops into eastern Ukraine despite a European-brokered truce that went into force last Sunday.
Moscow did not immediately respond to the accusation but has always denied accusations in the past that its forces are fighting in Ukraine.
“There is no question there have been a huge number of violations (of the ceasefire),” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters at the time. “The question is what is the status of where we think this is going from here and what are the costs that should be imposed,” the official added.
Washington warned Russia on Friday that the continued support of separatists fighting in Ukraine was a direct threat to the “modern global order”.
Saudi youth group performs at German cultural show
26 February 2015
A group of young Saudi performers recently participated in a contemporary urban art show held by the Germany Embassy in Riyadh, which was aimed at bringing the two nations closer together.
The German Ambassador to the Kingdom Boris Ruge welcomed the participation of the Saudis. “When it comes to cultural work, our approach is not just to show German culture. Whenever possible, we prefer our people to come and work with local artists, share ideas and develop something new,” he said.
“We want to do this not just in the traditional and classical fields but also in contemporary arts. In a country where half the population is under the age of 25 that seems like a smart thing to do,” he said.
Ruge cited some examples of cooperation in the country recently, including a Hip-Hop Jam at the German Consulate in Jeddah in 2014, and a street art workshop in the same city last week.
The Riyadh show included three hours of non-rhythmic urban acrobatic and gymnastic movements, presented by a group of 22 members, mostly Saudis, and two German artists, the German Deputy Head of Mission Michael Ohnmacht told Arab News.
A major part of the show was the performance of one German artist who spoke about the dangers of racism. “One of my grandfather’s brothers fought in World War II and was a military leader, and the other joined an extremist Nazi organization,” the performer said.
“Today, my grandfather and my brothers are very proud of me, although I have one parent of color. This is proof that change can happen anywhere, as it has happened in Germany, where racism has been replaced by open-mindedness,” he said.