Thematic collection: Data from the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation (CIDT) and Stichting Arab West Foundation (AWF)

DOI

This Thematic Collection contains links to the datasets of the Stichting Arab-West Foundation (AWF), in The Netherlands in close cooperation with the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation (CIDT). These datasets cover the period 1994-2016. The data consists of the reporting of Dutch sociologist Cornelis Hulsman, reporting supervised by him, full-transcript interviews, audio recordings and summaries of these audio recordings.

The Arab-West Foundation was established in 2005 to support the work of Cornelis Hulsman and his wife Eng. Sawsan Gabra Ayoub Hulsman-Khalil in Egypt. Cornelis Hulsman left The Netherlands for Egypt in October 1994. Sawsan Hulsman followed suit in 1995. They focused primarily on the study of Muslim-Christian relations and the role of religion in society in Egypt and neighboring countries, while obtaining their income from journalism.

The purpose of this work was to foster greater understanding between Muslims and Christians in Egypt and to show non-Egyptians that relations between the two faiths in Egypt cannot be described in reductive black and white terms, rather they are diverse and complicated. Working towards mutual understanding of different cultures and beliefs helps to reduce tensions and conflicts. Too often, parties present themselves as the victim of the other which results in biased reporting. Sometimes this is done deliberately to gain support. What is lacking in cases like this, is an in-depth understanding of the wider context in which narratives of victimization occur. Hulsman found several patterns that are key to understanding Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt such as - the impact of a culture of honor and shame and - aversion in traditional areas for visible changes in public (which includes church buildings and making one’s conversion to another religion public).

The datasets also include material on the place of Islamists in society, as well as wider information about Egyptian society since this is the context in which religious numerical minorities in Egypt live (the term minority is widely rejected in Egypt since all Egyptians, regardless of religion, are one. But in terms of numbers Christians are a minority).

It was Hulsman’s ambition to obtain a PhD but the challenges of making a living in Egypt prevented him from accomplishing this goal. Up until the year 2001, Cornelis only had an income from traditional media reporting. After 2004 he became largely dependent upon working with Kerk in Actie (Netherlands), Missio and Misereor (Germany).

Hulsman was dedicated towards non-partisan Muslim-Christian understanding. This began starting with a large number of recorded interviews, followed by research into why so many Christian girls convert to Islam (1995-1996). This work in turn led to the creation of an electronic newsletter called Religious News Service from the Arab World (RNSAW) and a growing number of investigative reports. In 2003 the RNSAW was renamed Arab-West Report. In 2004 they attempted to establish an Egyptian NGO but since no answer was obtained from authorities, the procedure was taken to the Council of State who ruled in 2006 that the request for NGO status was valid. This in turn resulted in a formal registration of the NGO with the Ministry of Social Solidarity in 2007. Because the outcome of this process was insecure in 2005 the Hulsmans established the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation (CIDT) . CIDT was established as a tawsiya basita (sole proprietorship) on the name of Sawsan Gabra Ayoub Khalil since it was extremely complicated to do this on the name of a non-Egyptian. In the same year friends of the Hulsman family established the Arab-West Foundation (AWF). CIDT tawsiya basita was closed in 2012. A new company was established under the same name but now as limited liability company and again it was not possible for Cornelis Hulsman to become a partner.

As a consequence the Hulsmans have been working since 2005 with an Egyptian company and a Dutch support NGO. Since 2007 they have also been working with an Egyptian NGO. This was important, since Egyptian law prohibits companies from receiving donations and carrying out not-for-profit work. NGOs, on the other hand, need to request permissions from the Ministry of Social Solidarity for each donation they receive. Such permissions are hard to obtain.

CIDT functions as a thinktank with funding from Kerk in Actie (Netherlands), Missio and Misereor (Germany) and at times projects with other organizations. CIDT produces the electronic newsletter Arab-West Report and has built the Arab West Report Database based on these data. Publication of this data is accomplished through the Arab-West Foundation since it turned out to be extremely hard to register Arab-West Report in Egypt. CAWU became the prime organization hosting student interns from Egypt and countries all over the world, which was possible since CAWU does not charge student interns for its services and neither pays them for any work carried out. Student interns have been contributing on a volunteer basis to the database of Arab-West Report, writing articles and papers and being engaged in social media under the supervision of Cornelis Hulsman. Other student interns contributed to summary translations of Arabic media, always supervised by a professional translator of CIDT.

CAWU has been promoting intercultural dialogue through a variety of programs including meetings and forums with community members, religious leaders and politicians from Egypt and the West. CAWU's aim is to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between Arab and Western communities by exposing biased media reporting and informing the public and important persons on complicated issues.

  • Availability - AWF's datasets are available to researchers upon request. Please go to the dataset you wish to download and request permission via the button 'Request Permission' on the tab 'Datafiles'. AWF will respond to your request.
Identifier
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Source https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:nl:ui:13-uq4z-mm
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Related Identifier http://www.arabwestreport.info
Metadata Access https://easy.dans.knaw.nl/oai?verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=oai_datacite&identifier=oai:easy.dans.knaw.nl:easy-dataset:65105
Provenance
Creator Hulsman, C. (Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation (CIDT))
Publisher Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)
Contributor Stichting Arab West Foundation
Publication Year 2016
Rights info:eu-repo/semantics/restrictedAccess; DANS License
OpenAccess false
Representation
Language English
Resource Type Dataset
Discipline Geography;History
Spatial Coverage Egypt; Jordan; Libya; Sudan; Lebanon; North Africa; The Middle East