Madinah governor opens conference promoting true understanding of Islam

Time: October 30, 2018   

Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman with religious scholars and researchers at the conference of International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Madinah. (SPA)
  • The conference will also highlight the role of scholars in educating the masses and in enlightening the Islamic world
  • The five-day event is being held in collaboration with the Islamic University in Madinah

JEDDAH: Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman opened the 23rd session of the conference of International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA).

The five-day event is being held in collaboration with the Islamic University in Madinah under the patronage of King Salman. It serves as a platform for religious scholars and researchers to present their research and studies based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

Based on the research findings, scholars will suggest ways to eradicate social and economic issues facing the Muslim world.

The aim of the event is to promote the true understanding of Islam and its tolerant nature. The conference will also highlight the role of scholars in educating the masses and in enlightening the Islamic world.

Several officials and academics told the Saudi Press Agency that the Islamic Shariah has the ability to achieve social harmony and human happiness. The Shariah, they added, has the solution to all human problems. However, they stressed the need to refer to authentic religious sources to find those solutions.

This article was first published in Arab News

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MWL signs cooperation agreement with supreme religious authority in Algeria

Time: October 01, 2018    

President of Algeria’s National Assembly Abdelqader Ben Saleh received the Secretary General of the Muslim World League Sheikh Dr. Muhammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, both sides discussed the issues related to the concepts of Islamic moderation and attempts of extremist organizations to distort the Islamic values, tolerance, justice and sublime ends of Islam.

Dr. Al-Issa praised the programs of tolerance and harmony that establish these Islamic values. These programs also combat all distortion campaigns seeking to undermine all supreme meanings and values of Islam.

According to an official statement made by the National Assembly, the meeting attended by President of the Islamic Supreme Council Bouabdallah Gholamollah addressed areas of joint cooperation and coordination.

Bin Saleh presented Algeria’s experience in the face of terrorist acts and disclosing the ugly face of terrorism in this historic effort exerted to restore peace and stability to Algeria.

For his part, Dr. Al-Issa stressed the importance of the continuation of the rehabilitation programs that work on preparing imams and scholars to be able to fight extremism and terrorism in addition to inoculating young people from extreme ideologies and protect them from the phenomena of delinquency and extremism, foster the preservation of their Arab identity and social and spiritual values and kindle national consciousness within them. He also stressed the importance of rejecting extraneous fatwas that do not suit spatial and temporal conditions of each Arab country.

On the other hand, Dr. Al-Issa met with President of Algeria’s People’s Assembly Said Bouhja and discussed issues of mutual interest and domains of cooperation.

The Muslim World League and the Supreme Islamic Council of Algeria signed a cooperation agreement aimed at combating extremist ideologies and terrorism, rejecting hate speech and violence, organizing scientific events and encouraging scholars to disseminate values of moderation, tolerance and dialogue. The Secretary General Sheikh Dr. Muhammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa signed the agreement on behalf of the MWL and Dr. Bouabdallah Gholamollah on behalf of the Council.

The agreement also provides for building bridges of scientific and cultural cooperation through exchanging publications, experiences and information

In his statement following the signing of the agreement, the secretary-General made clear that the agreement organizes cooperation between the two sides for the purpose of clarifying the true image of Islam and combating extremist and terrorist ideas together with the so-called campaign “Islamophobia”.

The Secretary General of the Muslim World League earlier met with the President and members of the Supreme Islamic Council of Algeria appointed by a presidential decree as representative of the Supreme Ulema of Algeria and its highest religious authority. Both sides also discussed opportunities of cooperation between the MWL and the Council.

  

This article was first published in AlRiyadh Daily

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Saudi Arabia taking lead in interfaith dialogue

Time: September 23, 2018 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says he wants to return Saudi Arabia to a ‘moderate Islam’ that is more open and tolerant of other faiths. (SPA)
  • The crown prince stressed the importance of respect between followers of all religions and the need to promote the positive values of coexistence and tolerance

JEDDAH: In 2007, King Abdullah held a groundbreaking meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. A year later, he invited religious scholars, media representatives, academics and intellectuals from around the globe to take part in three-day interfaith talks in Makkah. During that meeting, the parameters of the discussions Muslims should be having with people of other faiths were outlined. Since then, Saudi Arabia’s efforts to bring peace to the world have not stopped, nor will they end till the globe is free of terrorism and extremism. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said in interviews that he wants to return Saudi Arabia to a “moderate Islam” that is more open to the world and tolerant of other faiths. In November 2017, King Salman held talks in Riyadh with Lebanon’s Maronite Christian Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi.
Both men stressed the importance of the role of all religions and cultures in promoting tolerance, renouncing violence, extremism and terrorism, and achieving security and peace for the peoples of the region and the world. Al-Rahi later also met the crown prince.
In April this year, the king received at his office at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh the chairman of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue at the Vatican, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and his accompanying delegation.
During the meeting, they again stressed the important role that followers of all religions and cultures have to play in renouncing violence, extremism and terrorism, and achieving global security and stability. In March, Crown Prince Mohammed met political and religious leaders on the second day of his landmark visit to the UK. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion of millions of Christians, received the crown prince at Lambeth Palace in central London, where the two men talked for an hour.
They also viewed a selection of early texts from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths, including fragments of a Qur’an manuscript found in a Birmingham University library in 2015, which are thought to be among the world’s oldest.

The crown prince extended an invitation to the archbishop to visit Saudi Arabia, according to senior sources at the Saudi Embassy in the UK and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They added that the meeting had been “very positive and very pleasant.” Three weeks later, the crown prince met several US religious leaders in New York.
During those meetings, the crown prince stressed the importance of respect between followers of all religions and the need to promote the positive values of coexistence and tolerance. A few days before his trip to the UK, the crown prince met Coptic Pope Tawadros II at Cairo’s largest cathedral, and invited Egyptian Christians to visit Saudi Arabia, saying that all Coptic Christians are welcome.
Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, and the Vatican’s Cardinal Tauran signed a cooperation agreement in April for achieving common objectives. Islamic researcher Sheikh Ahmed Al-Ghamdi said interfaith dialogue is a necessary human, religious and cultural endeavor that will help to curb terrorism and extremism. A former president of the Makkah branch of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — sometimes referred to in the media as the “religious police” — he believes that such discussions should be widened to include more followers of other religions to ease hostilities and thwart terrorism, sectarianism and racism.
“We need to widen the circle of interfaith dialogue between societies in order to spread acquaintance, create rapprochement and correct the distorted image of Islam,” he said.
“Dialogue between followers of all the divinely revealed religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — can bring peace to the world. Moreover, talking with followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and other religions can also widen the space for peace.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Interfaith dialogue ‘vital to curb extremism,’ says Islamic researcher

Time: September 21, 2018  

Ahmed Qassim Al-Ghamdi
  • Dialogue is the only choice for contemporary societies to coexist in a peaceful world: Al-Ghamdi
  • We hope this cooperation will promote the culture of moderation and correct misconceptions about Islam, said the researcher

JEDDAH: Interfaith dialogue is essential to combat terrorism, curb extremism and promote peace, a leading Islamic researcher has told Arab News.

Open discussion between followers of different religions would also correct many common misconceptions about Islam, said Sheikh Ahmed Qassim Al-Ghamdi, former president of the Makkah branch of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

“Dialogue is the only choice for contemporary societies to coexist in a peaceful world,” Al-Ghamdi said. “It establishes a legitimate relationship between members of different societies. It also ignites their understanding and openness toward each other.”

Such discussions did not conflict with the values of Islam, he said. On the contrary, they encouraged greater mutual understanding. “They are, in fact, in compliance with the Qur’anic approach to protecting human communities, which have been created from the same soul, against racism, sectarian strife, hostility and dissonance.

“We hope this cooperation will promote the culture of moderation and correct misconceptions about Islam.”

It was normal for people to have different views and beliefs, Al-Ghamdi said, but rather than create conflict, this was an opportunity to exchange experiences and share benefits.

A good example was the recent agreement between the Vatican and the Muslim World League on achieving common objectives. Al-Ghamdi said. “It will cut off the way to extremism and terrorism, encourage members of different religions to work on common humanitarian, religious and social interests, and reinforce positive relations between followers of different religions.”

Saudi Arabia was a unique and distinguished model in the fight against terrorism and extremism, Al-Ghamdi said. The Kingdom continued to combat the evil of terrorism in all forms, locally, regionally and internationally, and it called upon the international community to cooperate to eradicate terrorism.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Iranian extremism ‘reinforcing instability’

Time: September 20, 2018 

MWL’s Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said Iran’s regional meddling would cause irreparable harm to its reputation. (Reuters)
  • Muslim World League to counter sectarianism with interfaith summit in Beirut
  • Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said the interfaith summit had particular relevance because of the pernicious influence of Iran in the region

BEIRUT: The Muslim World League (MWL) will hold an international Muslim-Christian summit in Beirut next year to combat hate speech and promote cultural and religious and diversity, the organization’s secretary-general said on Wednesday.

Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said the interfaith summit had particular relevance because of the pernicious influence of Iran in the region.

“The extremist sectarian policy adopted by Iran is causing more trouble and reinforcing instability,” he said.
“We have always said that we are not against Shiism; Shiites are our citizens, neighbors, and brothers. We are against sectarian extremism.

“Intervening in the affairs of states and attempting to impose sectarian domination and a political agenda will only make things worse.”

The MWL had chosen Beirut for the summit because of its “religious diversity and great civilization,” Al-Issa said.

“We aim through the summit to achieve cooperation in initiatives that achieve common goals to serve humanity and promote love.”

Al-Issa said Iran’s regional meddling would cause irreparable harm to its reputation.

“Calls for moderation have reached Iran from every advocate of peace and stability, but it refused to listen,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia and other peace-loving countries are doing their utmost to ensure stability and security, but Iran continues to defy the lessons of history.”

Al-Issa held talks on Wednesday with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Issuing a fatwa is a serious matter: Sheikh Hussein Al-Asheikh

September 14, 2018

MAKKAH/MADINAH – The Imam and Khateeb of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah Sheikh Hussein Bin Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh said it is the duty of the religious callers (Du’aat) and Ulema to be conscious of Allah Almighty when issuing religious edicts.

They should know that issuing a fatwa (religious edict) is a serious matter and they should be sincere and truthful to Allah Almighty and be conscious of Him in public and private, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted him as saying.

In his Friday sermon at the Prophet’s Mosque, Al-Asheikh stressed that all ought to be cautious not to issue fatwas individually in matters concerning the whole Ummah and the latest general developments where it is impermissible to be hasty.

He cautioned that it is necessary to observe deliberation, ponder on issues carefully, resort sincerely to Allah Almighty that He may guide the Ulema to the right decisions. They should take into consideration the rules and principles of the Shariah in benefiting the Ummah and preventing any harms as much as possible.

He further said that they should protect the Ummah’s cohesion and unity. They should keep away from all that might affect their cohesion and unity.

Al-Asheikh said when there is a need to issue such fatwas, Muslims should resort to the well-established Ulema, with long experience. They should take into consideration and respect the collective fatwas that are issued by the Fiqh academies by the Ulema of the Ummah after meticulous field studies, long discussions by all and a correct vision of matters.

The whole process should be in conformity with the rules of jurisprudence (Fiqh) on giving religious opinion (Ijtihad) so that matters and conditions are improved for the betterment of the Ummah.

He considered neglecting these principles and not taking them into consideration as conducive to creating intellectual chaos leading to grave consequences, which the Prophet (peace be upon him) warned against.

Al-Asheikh reminded Muslims of the importance of the month of Muharram, during which they should do good deeds including fasting. He quoted the Prophet as stressing that fasting in Muharram comes second only to fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Al-Asheikh said it is recommended to fast on the 10th of Muharram (Ashoura Day), which expiates the sins of a past year.

Al-Asheikh added that it is everybody’s duty in this life to always be conscious of Allah and a person should fear none but Him. A person should work hard in doing deeds and keep away from committing sins. He should be sincere to Allah Almighty and seek to please Him. One should contemplate on his deeds and look into what will save him from the Hellfire and what might cause him punishment.

Al-Asheikh stressed that being conscious of Allah Almighty and fearing Him creates a society free from vice, sins and crimes. Its generations will be characterized by virtue and they will cooperate with one another in doing good deeds and being conscious of Allah.

Meanwhile, in his Friday sermon today, Imam and Khateeb of the Grand Mosque in Makkah Sheikh Maher Bin Hamad Al-Mu’aiqli stressed the importance of grabbing the opportunity and doing good deeds during the sacred months (Rajab, Dhul Qa’dah, Dhul Hijja and Muharram).

The way the reward for doing good deeds is multiplied during the sacred months, one should refrain from committing sins, as they become more serious during these months and the punishment is greater.

The good deeds include giving alms, observing Monotheism (Tawhid), performing obligatory prayers and increasing optional (Nawafil) prayers and fasting. He stressed that fasting in Muharram is one of the best deeds. It is second only to fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Meantime, worshipers performed their first Friday prayer of the Hijri year 1440H amid ample services placed at their disposal by the state agencies at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, in line with the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

The worshipers included pilgrims, citizens and expatriates.

Worshipers thronged all the floors, courtyards and roof of the Prophet’s Mosque since the early hours of Friday amid an atmosphere replete with security, comfort, stability, peace of mind, tranquility and devotion. The worshipers prayed that the new year would bring with it welfare, piety, victory, pride and would elevate the Ummah to a higher status.

In a related development, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said the remaining pilgrims in Madinah, who totaled 195,569 on Thursday evening, are making preparations to return to their countries after performing Haj and visiting and praying in the Prophet’s Mosque.

This article was first published in  Saudi Gazette

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Interreligious relations, looking for a common ground

Time: September 10, 2018 

Interreligious relationships constitute the subject of an ongoing debate in conferences and seminars, especially when there isn’t any international common ground for easing hostilities among the followers of world religions. Such discussions peaked in the latter part of the 20th century over conflicts and dialogues among civilizations and religions.

A large group of thinkers such as Bernard Lewis, Samuel Huntington and Eric Hobsbawm participated in this debate. The new millennium brought disturbing events, which projected Islam on the world stage as a faith in whose name radical and bloody operations are conducted.

For the first time, a group of philosophers took part in a discussion about the relationship between Islam and its followers with the West, drawing theses from Jacques Derrida, Jürgen Habermas and Edgar Morin, among others. All discussions agree that there is a state of tension between Muslims and the West.

Bernard Lewis et al.

In a lecture delivered on March 7, 2007, Bernard Lewis — consistent with his historical view of the relationship between Muslims and the West — stated that the West is undergoing the most deadly attack on it today, adding that ever since it left the Arabian Peninsula, “controlling the house of infidelity and undermining its political life was its first goal.”

Organizations can, even if on the long run, contribute to decreasing tension between sects and religions, promoting understanding and public discussion and going beyond war tactics and conflicts.

Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran

Lewis notes that modern dialogue attempts have taken other forms. “We have seen in our own day the extraordinary spectacle of a pope apologizing to the Muslims for the Crusades. I would not wish to defend the behavior of the Crusaders, which was in many respects atrocious. But let us have a little sense of proportion. We are now expected to believe that the Crusades were an unwarranted act of aggression against a peaceful Muslim world. Hardly. The first papal call for a crusade occurred in 846 C.E., when an Arab expedition from Sicily sailed up the Tiber and sacked St. Peter’s in Rome.”

Dialogue the only option

The Lewis model comes in line with him being a classical historian. It is a model that formed a strong impression about Muslims and that make dialogue with the symbols of Islam and its followers a dream that’s difficult to achieve and that makes attempts to open dialogue futile and reaching an understanding with the Islamic situation with its troubled relations with the West an impossible task.

Nevertheless, there are other more modern points of view with an understanding that wasn’t available to Lewis who is a traditional philologist with an Orientalist approach. Other philosophers have been able to theorize that dialogue among followers of religions is the only method for reducing tension and bloodshed and for establishing a front to face extremism and obduracy of all Abrahamic religions’ symbols in particular.

I followed up on the Meeting for Friendship among Peoples that took place in the Italian city of Rimini with interest. Political and religious leaders participated in the conference which showcased academic and intellectual presentations in the presence of more than 5,000 people.

The statement of Secretary-General of the Muslim World League Mohammed al-Issa clearly voiced the importance of favoring the logic of reaching agreements when it comes to conflicts pertaining to relations between people and religion.

“Evil was not satisfied with this idea; it launched hatred, ignited wars, and initiated injustice, classifying people based on racism and oppression. Evil raised the slogan of the clash of civilizations and made conflict not peace or harmony, the first tenet on our planet. Evil founded a theory that difference and diversity mean clash, and no one should enjoy dignity except his religious, ethnic or partisan groups, whether it declared this precept or exercised it without declaration,” he said.

He added that it is neither logical nor fair to reduce Islam to an extremist group that does not exceed according to the Muslim World League’s statistics, one in 200,000 Muslims who represent moderate Islam.

“Religious and cultural differences among humans are undeniable facts, no matter how large the gap in some of their origins or branches might be, it should not, however, justify turning the world into an arena of conflicts. This difference falls within the Creator’s plan in the reality of pluralism and diversity, the latter must never clash with the importance of co-existence and cooperation; for, kindness and love for all must be a basic condition to live free in peace and harmony,” he also said.

What’s more significant is that a scholar such as Mohammed al-Issa pointed out that this open vision of the world reflects the general Muslim view, and not just a personal opinion. If anyone examines the content of his speech, he would find that it has views that are more progressive than the methods offered by some of the more traditional clerics who preach starting with a provocation of the other. I honestly think that Issa’s speech is tantamount to a new address which it’s quite rare that a Muslim scholar writes it in such a conscious language.

Organizations can, even if on the long run, contribute to decreasing tension between sects and religions, promoting understanding and public discussion and going beyond war tactics and conflicts.

Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqiran.

Last Update: Monday, 10 September 2018 KSA 17:01 – GMT 14:01

 

This article was first published in Al Arabiya English  

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Muslim World League chief deplores religious extremism

August 28, 2018

Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa speaks in Rimini, Italy, on Tuesday. (SPA)

  • Al-Issa pointed out that evil spread hatred, wars and injustice, classified people based on racism, exclusion and clash of civilizations, establishing the theory that diversity means conflict, not peace and harmony
  • Al-Issa warned against some groups that have reached intellectual deterioration, based on religious convictions or extremist philosophies

JEDDAH- The secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, has declared at one of the world’s biggest gatherings that struggle should be replaced by dialogue and understanding based on mutual respect.
He stressed that his message was for 1.8 billion Muslims who are committed to a religion that calls for the values of peace and promotes the building of bridges of peace and harmony in all issues. The most important of these, he said, are the rights of minorities, women and men, migration causes, national integration and trafficking in human beings as well as problems of poverty and ignorance.

This came in a speech delivered by Al-Issa in Rimini, Italy, on behalf of the Islamic peoples in the activities of the 39th edition of the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples. The theme was “The forces that move history are the same that make man happy” and political and religious leaders participated in the presence of more than 5,000 people from around the world.

The one-week gathering featured several seminars and open discussion sessions aimed at bridging the gap between the peoples of the world and emphasizing the importance of coexistence and understanding among nations and cultures.

This was the first time that the concepts of Islamic thought, culture and civilization were presented in this huge international gathering.

Al-Issa affirmed that the will of the Creator has decreed that people should be diverse in their colors, languages, religions, creeds, ideas and cultures.

He added that Allah has honored everyone and has not excluded anyone. “Only pure hearts filled with love and goodness can enjoy Allah’s mercy and justice and see in this diversity human richness that promotes dialogue, coexistence, cooperation and peace,” said Al-Issa.

He also pointed out that evil spread hatred, wars and injustice, classified people based on racism, exclusion and clash of civilizations, establishing the theory that diversity means conflict, not peace and harmony. What counts, he said, is the dignity of one’s religious or ethnic group.

Al-Issa warned against some groups that have reached intellectual deterioration, based on religious convictions or extremist philosophies.

“These groups form isolated cases in every religion, at any time. There is no religion whose origin is extremist, and in every religion there are extremists. The theories of some philosophies are intellectual hallucination rather than a philosophical logic,” added the MWL secretary-general.

He stressed that the MWL speaks in the name of the Islamic peoples, hence it has felt the importance of clarifying the truth of the Islamic religion which has loved, coexisted, engaged and cooperated with everybody after extremism has tried to harm it.

Al-Issa stressed that any religion incompatible with life cannot survive for more than 1,400 years, which is the age of Islam to this day.

“Islam is still among the most widely spread religions in terms of geography and growth. Muslims today count about one billion and 800 million people,” he said.

Al-Issa stressed that it is neither logical nor fair to reduce this religion, which has hundreds of millions of followers, to an extremist category that does not exceed, according to the MWL’s statistics, one in 200,000 Muslims who represent moderate Islam.

This article was first published in  ARAB NEWS

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Moderate Muslim conference reaches out to counter extremism

August 24, 2018

Compassion, kindness and affection are prominent characteristics in Islam. (Social media)

  • The objective behind the conference is to raise the awareness levels of the Ummah
  • The theme of the conference highlights the concepts of mercy and consideration in Islam

MINA- Five hundred Muslim scholars from 67 countries took part in the Muslim World League conference entitled “The Concept of Mercy and Consideration in Islam” on Wednesday at the MWL building in Mina.
Adel Al-Harbi, the league’s spokesman, said that the objective behind the conference is to raise the awareness levels of the Ummah and start implementing the solutions to the problems it faces within a scientific, conscious and responsible framework.
He added that the conference discusses two important themes: “Mercy and consideration: Meanings and milestones” as well as “Mercy and Consideration: Evidence and impact.”
He pointed out that the theme of the conference highlights the concepts of mercy and consideration in Islam; which are unquestionably an integral part of the religion, practiced by the Ummah, visible in its intellect and behavior as a clear reflection of the message of Islam, which came as mercy and benevolence for the worlds.
Al-Harbi stressed that compassion, kindness and affection are prominent characteristics in Islam and are present in its rulings, ethics, customs and traditions of those who adhere to it. These characteristics are practiced with ease and spontaneity and without any burden, which serves as a proof that they are very much a part of the Islamic civilization the culture of Muslims and this cannot be missed by a keen unbiased observer.
In conclusion, Al-Harbi said that the MWL extends its thanks to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their keenness to provide the best services to the guests’ of the Two Holy Mosques.
President of the Islamic and Cultural Center in Porto, Portugal, Abdul Rehman Manga, told Arab News that MWL is doing very important work in combatting extremism.
“Extremism cannot be associated with Islam and Muslim. Islam means peace, and peace is a name of Allah. The league is doing a great job in introducing Islam to those who know nothing about it,” said Manga.
Manga added that this year’s theme demonstrated how Muslims should be merciful to all mankind.
“Millions from around the globe have responded to the call of Allah to perform Hajj to the holy sites and they are behaving in mercy toward each other, as Allah, the most Merciful, has demanded them to act,” he said.
Mohammed El-Noubi, Professor of comparative literature at Kyushu University, in Fukuoka, Japan, said that all Islamic organizations worldwide work under the nongovernmental MWL umbrella.
“We came from Islamic and non-Islamic countries not only to perform Hajj but also to sit together in order to exchange views and experiences. With its lectures, the MWL adds a lot to our knowledge,” El-Noubi added.
“We are here equal in the Hajj; no difference between the poor and the rich, nor is there a variation between an old person and a young one. Moreover, the Hajj event is not only for performing Hajj, but is rather a give-and-take occasion or trade-in, but also to exchange ideas about the moderation of Islam,” he said.
“Islam urges its followers to show mercy to plants, animals and even the materials that we use. It is enough to say that Allah is the most Merciful, the most Gracious,” El-Noubi said.
Mohammed Shishah, a Portuguese language instructor at Lisbon University, Portugal, said that the conference plays a major role in fighting extremism and in countering media lies about Islam.
“The MWL is doing its best to show the true bright image of Islam. It has been clarifying and explaining to the whole world that Islam is not what (it) is being introduced (as being) in the western media channels,” he added.
Head of the Mauritanian Sahara Media Group, Abdullah Mohammadi told Arab News that the MWL has succeeded in gathering big names from the Muslim world.
“This elite group of scholars can help come up with ideas to reduce calamities in the Islamic nations. The MWL has succeeded in choosing the right topic for this conference to discuss,” he said.
Mohammedi said that Muslims urgently need to embrace moderation, which is what the true teachings of Islam are based on.
“The deviant ideologies have spread a sort of terrorism that is treating Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The MWL is playing a major role in fighting these divergent ideologies and spreading moderation. We should all support the League in spreading the moderate message of Islam,” he said.
Mohammedi pointed out that deviant groups in the west are fueling Islamophobia. “This needs be encountered through huge field efforts to explain to the western people what Islam really is. For this cause, we need speakers with good command of western languages and convincing mentalities to persuade both the elite and ordinary people with the moderate teaching of Islam and how peaceful we are,” he said.

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Punish ignorant people who promote sectarianism

Time: July 20, 2018

It is said that once a Sunni Palestinian and a Shiite Iraqi were debating in London over Husayn ibn Ali and Muawiyah and who was better among the two. The heated debate escalated into a fight so the police intervened, arrested both and referred them to the judiciary.

The British judge obviously asked them who Husayn and Muawiyah are and where they live. He was shocked to know that the scuffle was over a historical dispute going back 14 centuries so he sent both to a psychiatric institution.

I am not sure how true this story is, but it exemplifies the effect of history on the mentality of most Muslims – a mentality which often produces bloodshed. I have no doubt that this conveys sheer ignorance and backwardness. There are also lecturers or who are recently dubbed as preachers who have made a lot of money by milking these issues, both among the Sunni and the Shiite.

They tend to insult whoever objects to these trivialities and superstitions. I definitely believe that inciting sectarian arguments is like a virus which if it attacks national unity, it leads to strife, unrest and destroys security and stability. We have a clear example of this happening in Iraq due to the sectarian conflict among its national components. However, this situation would never stabilize unless sectarian fanaticism is renounced.

If nostalgia and engaging in arguments about the past stir up sedition, then logically and out of Islamic perspective such issues should not be discussed. The evidence is in the Quran: “That is a nation which has passed on. It will have [the consequence of] what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do.” Raking up sectarian issues despite Quranic prohibition is because some people benefit from it.

Preachers have made a lot of money by milking sectarian issues, both among the Sunni and the Shiite

Mohammed Al Shaikh

Stoking instability

In addition to preachers, there are foreign parties that try to stoke instability and crisis in the community. Without realizing, the members of this community become slaves of the foreign party and serve its interests.

Their stupidity is thus exploited to achieve foreign parties’ mean goals. On top are proponents of Vilayat-e Faqih republic. We never witnessed such disputes before Khomeini took power in Iran, though there were traces of these problems in some heritage books.

Once Khomeini’s revolution succeeded, he raised contentious doctrines and stoked rivalry, which ensued in widespread hatred. He hired agents to revive the disputes of the past.

Although the clerics of Iran claim that they support the unity of the Islamic nation, and that they transcend sectarian differences but their policies in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain invalidate their claims especially that they have found the means to achieve their goals in these countries.

I do not hold the Persian clerics as being solely responsible for this problem. There are many Sunni and other preachers as well as some naive and ignorant people in the community who help them achieve their goals and promote sectarian divisions without knowing it.

Thus, I call for the enactment of strict and deterrent policies to stop these ignorant people and purify our nation and more importantly our educational curricula from everything that may break up the national bond.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper. He tweets @alshaikhmhmd.

This article was first published in Al Arabiya English  

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