The signing ceremony was attended by Albanian and Saudi officials. (SPA)
Al-Asheikh: “Saudi Arabia has suffered a lot from terrorism and terrorists, fueled by Iran … There are many groups acting under their (Tehran’s) guidance and in accordance with their plans”
Saudi Arabia and Albania on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the field of Islamic work.
The signing ceremony was attended by Albanian and Saudi officials. The MoU aims to promote Islam, its merits and its position on contemporary issues by exchanging research, books and scientific publications in different languages, holding scientific seminars and training courses, organizing joint exhibitions and programs, and exchanging experiences.
Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh received an Albanian delegation in his office in Riyadh.
He said his ministry “is cooperating with the concerned authorities in all countries of the world, given the Kingdom’s leading role in serving Islam and Muslims to promote the true image of Islam, which is a religion of tolerance and moderation that rejects extremism, violence and terrorism.”
He added: “The Kingdom, led by King Salman, is witnessing a major transformation in all areas, including Islamic affairs, protecting platforms and controlling call activities so that they are according to the Holy Qur’an and in accordance with the principles of moderation and rejection of extremism.”
Al-Asheikh added: “The Kingdom has suffered a lot from terrorism and terrorists, fueled by Iran … There are many groups acting under their (Tehran’s) guidance and in accordance with their plans.”
He said: “The terrorist group of the Muslim Brotherhood … turned into an evil tool in their (Iran’s) hands in order to spread strife and unrest in the Kingdom. However, their plan failed thanks to God Almighty and the wise Saudi leadership, which managed to counter these evil plans and defeat this group and those behind it.”
The Albanian delegation praised the MoU, Saudi services provided to pilgrims and visitors, and projects implemented by the Saudi government to serve Islam and Muslims everywhere. The delegation thanked the king and crown prince for Saudi support for Muslims in Albania.
MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa inaugurates the French Institute of Islamic Civilization in Lyon. (Photo/Supplied)
Al-Issa pointed out that Islam respected human rights and freedoms within the framework of its legislation
LYON: The head of the Muslim World League (MWL) called for further efforts to promote religious and cultural tolerance at the opening of a new Islamic center in France.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the French Institute of Islamic Civilization in Lyon, Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa stressed the importance of dialogue and cultural exchange in breaking down barriers and fighting extremism.
The MWL’s secretary-general said highlighting and working on shared values was vital in strengthening links of human brotherhood to reduce negative gaps between peoples and nations.
“With the civilized transcendence of Islam, there is a need to respect the constitutions and regulations of the countries in which we reside,” said Al-Issa.
He appealed for tolerance, positive coexistence and the building of bridges of friendship between people and warned of the dangers of political groups that used religion as a cover to achieve authoritarian goals, especially through the use of disinformation to recruit young people.
“These groups seek to use Islam, symbol of mercy, morals, peace, values and civilizational principles in their highest form, to achieve their political ambitions and narrow views, loaded with violent extremism or terrorism,” he added.
Al-Issa pointed out that Islam respected human rights and freedoms within the framework of its legislation.
Also in attendance at the opening ceremony was French Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner who thanked Al-Issa for his comments and description of France as a country that promoted integration, stability and mutual respect.
The minister said that the institute represented a challenge to understanding and respect and reflected an accurate vision of Islam as a religion that accepted other cultures and supported dialogue and tolerance.
He also expressed pride at the strong lines of communication between Muslims and the French government and said the city of Lyon was a symbol of dialogue in the country.
Later, Al-Issa, Castaner and the Mayor of Lyon Gerard Collomb toured the institute which is equipped with the latest technology. It consists of five floors and a large conference hall and will offer courses in Islamic civilization in various languages, including Arabic and French. Collomb said the institute would help to educate non-Muslims about Islamic cultural heritage.
The MWL partnered with the French government to help establish the new institute in Lyon.
Earlier, Al-Issa met with the president of the Institute of Islamic Civilization, Kamel Kabtan, and discussed ways to promote a culture of tolerance and dialogue, and combat hatred and violence.
CAIRO: The Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh has said that misinformation disseminated by extremists and terrorists among Muslims leads to revolutions and loss of life, as well as the destruction of homelands and the dispersal of people.
Al-Asheikh made the remarks during a speech at the opening session of the 30th International Conference of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf in Cairo under the theme “Nation building in Islamic Jurisprudence.”
He said that one of the most important rules for building countries agreed on by all nations and civilizations, and strengthened and emphasized by Islam, was establishing the rules of justice, tolerance, coexistence and fighting corruption and corrupters.
Al-Asheikh said that one of the greatest sources of corruption was the intellectual corruption that generates all practical and behavioral corruption.
Al-Asheikh said that the radical ideology on which the terrorist organization the Muslim Brotherhood was founded spread militancy and hatred among people in the name of Islam, causing non-Muslims to resent Islam.
He underlined that building nations and promoting their strength does not happen through laziness and indolence, but by studying all material causes and civilized means in all aspects of life, whether military, economic, scientific and social. “Islam took into account these aspects with greatest care,” Al-Asheikh said.
He said that Saudi Arabia was able to reconcile religious values with modernity, so that the land of the Two Holy Mosques became an example of civilization and modernity while adhering to the religious and Islamic foundations.
“The Kingdom also became a solid rock breaking the cunning of the enemies of Arabism and Islam, this would not have been possible without the help of God and the wisdom of its leaders, namely King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Al-Asheikh said.
Al-Asheikh concluded his speech by highlighting that Vision 2030, the National Transformation Program 2020 and the vital projects that the Kingdom was witnessing was a clear indication of the endeavors of Saudi Arabia in fighting corruption and corruptors.
The meeting was held on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and aimed to discuss ways to promote international coexistence and harmony. (SPA)
MWL and the delegation stressed their common values and pledged to promote cooperation in this context
JEDDAH: The secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, met Joel Rosenberg, head of a delegation of evangelical Christian leaders, in Jeddah on Wednesday. The meeting was held on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and aimed to discuss ways to promote international coexistence and harmony.
In a joint statement, the MWL and the delegation stressed their common values and pledged to promote cooperation in this context.
They stressed the need to renounce all forms of extremism and hatred, and work together to build bridges between peoples from all religions and cultures.
The two sides agreed to promote respect for religions and mutual trust, and committed to address obstacles to coexistence and put an end to violence through education and encouraging religious harmony and cultural, racial and national integration.
Both sides stressed the importance of family in building a successful society and raising generations with the values of moderation, love and respect for others.
The statement said broad citizenship guarantees justice for all, and the constitution and rule of law should be respected in all countries.
It stressed the importance of places of worship worldwide, and the need to prosecute all who attack them.
The two sides agreed to establish and encourage programs and initiatives to combat hunger, poverty and disease.
The two sides acknowledged the right to personal freedom as long as it does not lead to mistreating others, especially on the basis of religion, culture or race.
On Tuesday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Rosenberg and the delegation. They stressed the importance of joint efforts to promote coexistence and tolerance, and to combat extremism and terrorism.
World Alliance of Religions for Peace announced on Saturday the election of secretary general of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muammar as the honorary president. (WARP/File Photo)
Secretary General Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muammar was elected in recognition of his efforts to spread the values of dialogue and tolerance
The Alliance consists of a World Council of Senior Religious Leaders from all regions of the world
RIYADH: The World Alliance of Religions for Peace announced on Saturday the election of secretary general of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muammar as the honorary president of the Alliance.
The announcement was made at the 10th International Conference of the Religions for Peace General Assembly in Lindau, Germany, from 20-23 August 2019.
Alliance officials noted that the election of bin Muammar, along with the group of honorary presidents of the Alliance for the next five years, comes in recognition of his efforts, through the King Abdullah International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue, to spread the values of dialogue and tolerance and to promote cooperation between religious figures and makers.
Bin Muammar expressed his thanks and appreciation for the trust of the Religions for Peace General Assembly.
He said: “I am proud to be elected as the honorary president among other honorary presidents, and joining an international multi-religious group of leaders committed to interfaith dialogue.”
He concluded his speech by expressing his sincere thanks and gratitude for the support of the founding countries of the Center, especially Saudi Arabia, the initiator of the initiative, Spain, Austria, the Vatican and the Board of Directors of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus, and the advisory board of forty-six members of fifteen religions and beliefs, and employees of the Center in 30 countries around the world.
World Alliance of Religions for Peace, founded in 1970, is one of the most important international non-governmental organizations interested in world religious affairs.
It consists of a World Council of Senior Religious Leaders from all regions of the world; representing six regional interfaith bodies and more than 90 national bodies.
The 44th annual Hajj Grand Symposium concluded on Tuesday. (Supplied)
It was important that Muslims highlight the morality and message of peace that is the true face of Islam
MAKKAH: The 44th annual Hajj Grand Symposium concluded on Tuesday after two days of debate and discussion on the theme of “Islam: Coexistence and Tolerance.”
The event, organized by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and held at Hilton Makkah Convention Hotel, featured Islamic thinkers and scholars from the Kingdom and across the Islamic world. It included a number of sessions on subjects such as: “Islam in serving societies,” “coexistence and tolerance in Islam,” “humanity in the digital world,” “the doors of guidance in Islam” and “Islam and coexistence issues.”
In a speech on the second day of the symposium, Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat, the deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, stressed the importance of hosting the symposium each year. It benefits everyone, he said, thanks to the diversity of the participants and the important benefits that can be obtained from learning about their experiences and listening to their recommendations. He said they will assist the country’s leaders in their efforts to continue to improve Hajj and Umrah services.
Mashat said that the ways in which we deal with the digital world reflects our identity. When technology is misused, it harms religion and humanity. He also stressed the importance of maintaining a presence in the digital world that preserves personal identity.
“When we talk about tolerance and coexisting, we cannot separate the true human identity from the digital identity,” he said. “When there is a difference between the two identities then that will create a double identity.”
Technical expert Abdullah Al-Saba said that prior to the digital revolution, the scope for sharing information was much more limited. As technology has advanced, our lives have gotten easier and we can reach others and spread information more quickly to greater numbers of people. This can serve Islam, he said, for example by using technology to help and track pilgrims during their journeys for Hajj and Umrah.
Counselor Khaled Al-Hajri led a session on Tuesday titled “embracing Islam” that featured Yusuf Estes, an American Islamic preacher, Dr. Rateb Junaid, from United Muslims of Australia, and former French footballer Nicola Anilka.
Estes said it is important to properly reflect the true, positive nature of Islam through actions, including charitable actions, and not only words. Junaid added that after recent terrorist attacks around the world, it was important that Muslims highlight the morality and message of peace that is the true face of Islam.
Muslim World League Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa meets Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia Kirill I. (SPA)
The agreement also rejects all forms of extremism and hatred
MOSCOW: The Muslim World League (MWL) and the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia signed on Wednesday an agreement to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue, as well as a culture of peace and constructive coexistence.
The agreement, which also rejects all forms of extremism and hatred, was co-signed in Moscow by the MWL’s undersecretary of relations and communication, and the head of the Department for External Church Relations.
It was signed in the presence of MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa and Patriarch Kirill I.
The agreement reflects the two sides’ belief in the importance of interreligious dialogue and the role of religious institutions in resolving international conflicts, as well as the desire of Muslims and Christians to promote peaceful and constructive coexistence.
Al-Issa and Kirill I held a historic summit on Wednesday at the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow.
It is considered the largest independent Eastern Orthodox Church, with more than 250 million followers.
The summit, attended by senior religious leaders, included fruitful discussions on issues of mutual interest.
Kirill I said he was “very happy” with Al-Issa’s visit to Russia, noting the significant and enlightened role of the MWL.
“You’re helping many needy people in Asia and Africa, and this is the subject of our deep concern and appreciation,” the patriarch added.
The agreement covers cooperation between cultures and civilizations; promoting peace and human rights; improving societies’ ethics, academic communication and information exchange; religious minority issues in crisis situations; and media-related matters.
“Owing to your personal contribution to the MWL’s activities, the league has become well-known in the Christian world, which appreciates these remarkable activities,” he said.
“The Orthodox Church has a great network of relations with Islamic societies and communities, and there’s communication with Muslims in our country. The history of Russia has never seen wars or conflicts with Muslims,” Kirill I added.
“Since Orthodox Christians and Muslims belong to the Eastern civilization, we share many commonalities. My job … has made this fact very clear to me.”
Kirill I underscored the Russian people’s unity regardless of religion, sect or ethnicity. “Russia can serve as an example for countries and representatives of faiths and sects,” he said.
Al-Issa said: “I’m happy to visit the Russian Orthodox Church and to meet with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill I, who is known for his outstanding efforts in promoting religious harmony and coexistence as well as love and tolerance.”
Al-Issa added. “We in the MWL, and on behalf of all Muslim people, appreciate the humanitarian and moral efforts of the Orthodox Church, and value its fair feelings toward Islam.”
He said: “We appreciate your describing terrorism as having no religion and stating that Islam … has nothing to do with terrorism.”
He added: “I’ve met with a number of Muslims, especially Muslim scholars in Russia, and they hold great esteem for the Orthodox Church for its efforts to preserve religious harmony, which are appreciated historic efforts.”
Al-Issa said: “The commonalities we share are many, especially the convergence of Eastern culture with its human and moral values.”
He said: “There won’t be a cultural shock between us because we belong to one Eastern culture and have several humanitarian goals.”
Al-Issa said: “With your wisdom, we can promote religious and ethnic cooperation. We, in the Muslim world, believe in your great role and are sure of its importance and impact.”
Muslim World League Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa speaks during a conference in Dakar. (SPA)
MWL conference in Dakar called for building a mind capable of comprehending Islamic sciences and confronting extremists
DAKAR: The Muslim World League (MWL) concluded its international conference on “Islamic thought: Approach and message,” which took place in the Senegalese capital of Dakar.
The conference was attended by African scientists and intellectuals, who argued the importance of people being guided by faith, the values of civilization, human progress and seeking to live a carefree and dignified life.
They called for building a mind capable of comprehending Islamic sciences and confronting extremist and violent ideas and their negative developments.
Moustapha Niass, president of the National Assembly of Senegal, praised the MWL for launching their programs designed to promote scientific and intellectual communication with different people and cultures.
The secretary-general of the MWL, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, underlined the league’s keenness to promote the true principles of Islam that call for moderation and confronting hatred and extremism.
He pointed out that Islamic thought has enlightened the world with its mercy, humanity, justice, openness and tolerance, stressing that modernity and authenticity are the main pillars of Islamic thought. Al-Issa underscored the importance of Islamic moderation to fight ideological extremism.
He also called for raising awareness about the importance of understanding religious texts and their significance, saying that Shariah rules and fatwas change with times and circumstances. He invited scholars to support the formation of a good Muslim personality, especially for Muslim youths.
Sheikh Mbaye Niang, minister of religious affairs, noted that Islamic thought is characterized by open and flexible creations and properties guided by Islam.
He said that the conference is held within a global context marked by the escalation of violence in its various forms. “Many scientists and researchers have become more aware that this is the result of an intellectual crisis that has escalated and resulted in extremism and terrorism,” he added.
Soham El-Wardini, mayor of Dakar, thanked MWL for organizing the conference, hailing its pivotal role in promoting the values of moderation, especially in the face of extremist ideas. “Islamic thought extends bridges of communication with everyone confidently and capably,” she said.
A cooperation agreement was signed between the MWL and the High Authority of Waqf in Senegal covering the activation of endowments to promote and develop charity activities and the culture of philanthropy in Senegal.
Family photo from the 13th OIC ordinary summit in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2016 shows the heads of state and government who attended it. (AFP)
Makkah summit aims to build on highlighting Palestinian issue and unifying Islamic position on key issues
The OIC first met after an arson attack inside Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in 1969
JEDDAH: From defending Palestinian rights to taking a unified stand on threats against member states, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — the world’s second-largest inter-governmental body after the UN — has been making a difference in the Muslim world for the last 50 years.
The Islamic Summit in Makkah on Friday will be the organization’s 14th ordinary summit, and will be attended by kings and heads of state and government of the OIC’s 57 member countries.
The OIC first met a month after an arson attack inside Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Aug. 21, 1969.
An Australian tourist had set fire to a structure in the main Al-Qibly Mosque, destroying the 800-year-old pulpit of Saladin.
Reacting to the incident, representatives from 24 Islamic states gathered in Rabat, Morocco, from Sept. 22 to 25 for the first Islamic Summit, marking the birth of the OIC.
The next year, the first ever meeting of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) was convened in Jeddah, and a decision was taken to establish a permanent secretariat in the Saudi city, headed by the OIC’s secretary-general.
The summit in Rabat was attended by representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) with observer status.
The attendees pledged their adherence to the UN Charter and condemned Israel for the Al-Aqsa arson attack.
The second Islamic Summit was convened in February 1974 in Lahore, Pakistan, after a gap of five years.
Representatives from nearly 35 countries attended, proclaiming that “the solidarity of the Islamic peoples is based not on hostility towards any other human communities nor on distinctions of race and culture.”
The Lahore gathering called on OIC member states to sever all relations with Israel in favor of Islamic solidarity.
Seven years later, in January 1981, Saudi Arabia hosted the third Islamic Summit, known as the “Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif Session,” from which Iran and Libya stayed away.
The final declaration read: “All Muslims form one nation of moderation, rejecting alignment to any and all blocs and ideologies, steadfastly refusing to surrender to divisive influences or to conflicts of interests.”
Convened against the backdrop of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the summit in Jeddah expressed its deep concern over Cold War developments, and renewed its call for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country.
The delegates decided that OIC member states would contribute at least $3 billion for the creation of an Islamic World Development Program.
The Saudi crown prince at the time, Prince Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, declared a grant of $1 billion by the Kingdom for its implementation.
In January 1984, Morocco hosted the fourth Islamic Summit in Casablanca at the invitation of King Hassan II, with representatives from 42 member states and international organizations, notably the UN and Arab League, in attendance.
The summit reaffirmed its commitment to the principles on which a solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict was to be based: Israel’s withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied in 1967, and the restoration of the Palestinians’ national rights, including their right of return and right to self-determination.
Three years later, in January 1987, Kuwait hosted the fifth Islamic Summit. The four-day meeting, attended by 44 member states, condemned the US for its support for Israel. With “Al-Quds Al-Sharif, Concord and Unity” as the theme, Senegal hosted the sixth Islamic Summit in Dakar in December 1991.
In the Dakar declaration, participants reaffirmed their “resolve to face the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967; as well their determination to continue to reject and oppose the pursuit of Israeli plans and practices.”
The Islamic Summit returned to Casablanca for its seventh session in December 1994. The session, which coincided with the OIC’s 25th anniversary, was attended by 49 member states and international organizations.
At this gathering, delegates pledged to correct the image of Islam, referring to the spirit of “jihad” based on general principles of Shariah law.
The Palestinian issue also featured prominently at the summit, with participants voicing their support for the PLO in its struggle for Palestinian rights.
The delegates condemned Serbia’s aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina, its non-compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, and its rejection of the Five-Nation Peace Plan.
The eighth session was convened under the patronage of Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s then-president, in December 1997, with “Dignity, Dialogue, Participation” as the theme.
The summit in Tehran was attended by 53 member states and inaugurated by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Large contributions were made by several Gulf countries, with Saudi Arabia alone giving $10 million for OIC activities and institutions.
The ninth Islamic Summit was convened in Doha, Qatar, in November 2000, with the theme “Peace and Development: Al-Aqsa Intifada.”
It was attended by 52 member states, with Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Central African Republic, Ivory Coast and Thailand participating as observers, and Russian President Vladimir Putin taking part in the opening session.
Against the backdrop of the US invasion of Iraq, the 10th Islamic Summit was convened in Putrajaya, Malaysia, in October 2003.
Delegates strongly condemned threats by the Israeli government against then-Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, and appealed to the international community to force Israel to respect UN resolutions.
The summit strongly condemned the terrorist bombing of the Jordanian and Turkish embassies and the UN headquarters in Baghdad, and of holy sites in the Iraqi city of Najaf.
It also rejected “unfounded campaigns and allegations against Saudi Arabia,” and called for their end.
The summit expressed solidarity with, and support for, the Kingdom, and its backing of all Saudi efforts to fight terrorism.
The Islamic Summit returned to Dakar in December 2005 for its 11th session, where leaders pledged that their governments would do whatever it would take to make contributions amounting to $10 billion to the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development, which was established under the aegis of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
In 2013, the 12th Islamic Summit was convened in Cairo, Egypt, with the participation of 56 member states along with a number of international and regional organizations.
Participants condemned the Israeli assault of November 2012 on the Gaza Strip, and the policy of collectively punishing the Palestinian people, particularly Israel’s blockade of the enclave.
The last Islamic Summit before the upcoming one in Makkah was held in April 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey.
There, delegates reaffirmed their commitment to the OIC’s central purpose: The Palestinian cause and the preservation of Haram Al-Sharif as an Islamic site.
They expressed concern for Muslim refugees who had to leave their home countries, notably Syria, due to armed conflicts and oppression. They also decried the rise of xenophobia and Islamophobia in Western countries.