DUBAI, UAE, December 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Award honors those who have done the most to bridge the gap in understanding between Muslim world and the West.
Mohammed Hassan Ali bin Isa and Abdul-Jalil al-Arbash, two volunteer who gave their lives guarding a mosque from a suicide bomber in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, have been voted the 2015 Cross-Cultural Communicators of the year by a distinguished panel of experts and readers of the Al Arabiya News (English) website.
The award, which honors those who have done the most to bridge the gap in understanding between the Muslim world and the West, was announced at the second Al Arabiya News Global Discussions Forum, held in Dubai.
The inaugural Cross-Cultural Communication Award is intended to highlight the individuals who have fostered ties or highlighted vital issues concerning how the Arab world is viewed elsewhere.
A total of 12 candidates were shortlisted by Al Arabiya News (English), across four categories: The award for highlighting the plight of refugees; for efforts combating violent extremism; for fighting Islamophobia; and for portraying a positive image of Arab society.
Readers of this website, the English-language service of the Al Arabiya News Channel, were given the opportunity to shortlist one in each category via Twitter polls.
The four nominees to have received the most votes in each category were:
Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat: The Turkish bride and groom who spent the money saved for their wedding banquet to feed 4,000 Syrian refugees.
Mohammed Hassan Ali bin Isa and Abdul-Jalil al-Arbash: Two young Saudis who were killed as they stopped an ISIS suicide bomber entering a Dammam mosque.
Marwa Balkar: A young Muslim woman from Los Angeles who challenged Islamophobia with a passionate Facebook post taking Donald Trump to task for his criticisms of Islam.
Mohammed Assaf: The Palestinian singer rose to fame with his 2013 victory in MBC's hit talent show Arab Idol.
A panel of regional diplomats, political analysts, leading academics and journalists then voted for the final winner at the two-day Global Discussions Forum, which closed on Thursday.
"It is people, not politicians, who are driving understanding between East and West, at what is a particularly divisive time for the Arab world," said Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya News (English).
"The first Cross-Cultural Communication Award recognizes that. All the nominees are remarkable in their own way. All deserve recognition for - intentionally or otherwise - highlighting some of the most pressing issues in this time of heightened terror atrocities, rising Islamophobia, and worrying anti-Muslim sentiment coming from the other side of the Atlantic."
Mohammed and Abdul-Jalil are two young men who stopped and turned away a suicide bomber entering from the Imam Hussein mosque in Dammam, in Saudi Arabia.
Full coverage of the both Cross-Cultural Communication Award and Al Arabiya News Global Discussions Forum is available at alarabiya.net/English.
SOURCE Al Arabiya News English