MWL, UPEACE join hands to promote peace, civilized dialogue

Time: 26 November 2020

MWL Secretary-General Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa (shown on screen) presides over a meeting on Thursday. (SPA)

RIYADH: The Muslim World League (MWL) and the UN-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) have launched a book dedicated to the promotion of peace, human rights, and dialogue among civilizations.

The work, co-authored by 32 leading religious, international, political, intellectual, and media figures from around the world, was launched in Jeddah to mark the UN’s 75th anniversary and 100 years of multilateralism.

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the MWL, said: “I have always said that 10 percent of humans are capable of bringing peace and harmony to our world.

“Religious leaders and public and private institutions, including international institutions, have a responsibility to contribute effectively to achieving our common aspirations.

“A civilized alliance must be reached that represents the reality of understanding, tolerance, and cooperation of all, as well as promoting awareness of the fact that God has established the principles of difference, diversity, and pluralism.”

Al-Issa added: “History has given us lessons and sermons that prove that there is no victor in civilizational clashes and conflicts, which means that ideas can only be communicated through wisdom and mutual respect.”

Alvaro Iranzo Gutierrez, the Spanish ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said Spain had also tried to play a role in international efforts aimed at providing a structure for dialogue between communities and religions.

He pointed out that the book’s research, coordinated by UPEACE and the MWL, provided “the necessary and comprehensive intellectual refutation of all the negatives in order to rise above the perceptions of the past that highlights divisions.”

Francisco J. Chacon Hernandez, Costa Rica’s ambassador to the UAE and Jordan, congratulated the MWL and UPEACE on the “inspiring” work that he said would help pave the way for peace.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman says Saudi Arabia is proactive in fighting extremist ideology and terrorism

Time: 23 November 2020

  • Statement came during a phone call with Charles Michel, the president of the European Council

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said the Kingdom is proactive in taking initiatives aimed at fighting extremist ideology and terrorism.
The statement came during a phone call with Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, Saudi Press Agency reported.
At the beginning of the call, Michel congratulated the King on the “remarkable success” of the G20 Summit hosted in Riyadh at the weekend.
Michel expressed his appreciation for the Kingdom’s remarkable efforts in combating extremism and terrorism, and the Council’s desire to enhance cooperation in these fields with the Kingdom, based on its leadership role in the Islamic world.
King Salman also affirmed Saudi Arabia’s keenness to strengthen relations with EU countries.
He indicated that the Kingdom is proactive in taking initiatives aimed at combating extremist ideology and terrorism, promoting tolerance and coexistence among peoples, and dialogue between religions.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi human-rights chief meets delegation from France

Time: 19 February, 2020

Awwad Al-Awwad, the president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission with Christophe Farno, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Middle East and North Africa department director. (SPA)
  • Al-Awwad stressed the strength of the relationship between the Kingdom and France

RIYADH: Awwad Al-Awwad, the president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, on Tuesday met a delegation from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led by Christophe Farno, director of the ministry’s Middle East and North Africa department.

They discussed opportunities for cooperation and how they might work together to enhance human rights.

Al-Awwad stressed the strength of the relationship between the Kingdom and France in all fields. He also gave an overview of recent developments in human rights that have taken place in Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Salman and the pioneering national reforms led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

He said that there have been 60 human-rights reforms so far, 22 of which were designed to empower women and guarantee their rights. He noted these significant changes are in keeping with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development to ensure a great future for the Kingdom and its people.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia donates $3 million to UN cultural tolerance initiative

29/09/19

  • Saudi UN representative said some of the recent terror attacks were caused by hate speech
  • The Kingdom created a center to promote intercultural and religious understanding
  • NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia has pledged $3 million in support of the UN Alliance of Civilizations’s (UNAOC) plan of action, activities and programs over the next three years, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday. UNAOC seeks to improve understanding and cooperation among nations and peoples across cultures and religions, in addition to countering polarization and extremism.
    The donation was announced during a speech by the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, in a meeting for the UNAOC initiative on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
    In his speech, Al-Mouallimi said: “The world today is witnessing many conflicts, some of which are a result of the upsurge in hate speech and the growing violent ideologies in many countries around the world. This has led to the terrorist attacks against holy places and houses of worship as well as the murder of innocent people.”
    He stressed that the matter requires the international community to take a serious stance and face this phenomenon.
    Al-Mouallimi added: “We must believe that religious and cultural diversity in human societies does not justify the clash. It requires the establishment of a civilized partnership and building bridges of communication and dialogue.”

The initiative of UNAOC was a positive step toward promoting noble values, building bridges of love and peace, addressing all that violates holy places and providing security for houses of worship.

Abdallah Al-Moualimi, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN

He highlighted that the Kingdom is one of the first countries to call for religious dialogue and the promotion of a culture of tolerance. “For this reason, it has established the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue and cooperated with the activities of the United Nations and UNAOC,” he said.
“The other factor that leads to conflict is occupation. The continuance of occupation, denying people their rights, marginalization, and oppression help spread extremist ideologies and hate speech.
“Palestine is a vivid example of that. Israel’s continued violations of international resolutions and its undermining of all opportunities for peace, in addition to the continued siege on the Palestinian people, the seizure of their lands and the destruction of their properties were the main cause threatening international stability, peace and security,” he said.
The Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN conveyed his country’s appreciation for the determined and concrete efforts of UNAOC to foster a culture of peace, combat hate speech and face the spread of extremist ideologies, which violate holy places and kill innocent people.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Forum on fighting terrorism financing held in Riyadh

28/09/19

The symposium hosted the Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Ahmed Al-Khulaifi. (SPA)

Combating the financing of terrorism is one of the four domains of the coalition, besides its intellectual, media and military objectives
RIYADH: The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) has held its third monthly symposium in Riyadh, directed at combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The symposium hosted the Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Ahmed Al-Khulaifi, who is chairman of the standing committee for combating money laundering.
The meeting, “Fundamentals of Building National Strategy and Plan of Action in the Field of Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing,” was attended by representatives of the 41-member countries of the IMCTC alliance.
Combating the financing of terrorism is one of the four domains of the coalition, besides its intellectual, media and military objectives.

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Extremist misinformation leads to death and destruction: Saudi Islamic affairs minister

16/09/19

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.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia leads global condemnation of Sri Lanka attacks

21/04/19

  • King Salman condemned the “despicable act of terrorism”
  • Other world leaders have also condemned the attacks that killed more than 200 people

RIYADH: King Salman and other world leaders have condemned a series of blasts in Sri Lanka that killed more than 200 people on Sunday, including dozens of foreigners — with British, Dutch and American citizens believed to be among them.

The Saudi king sent a cable of condolence to the president of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena following the terrorist attacks in the country.

“We are aware of the terrorist attacks that targeted your friendly country and the resulting deaths and injuries, and we strongly condemn this despicable act of terrorism,” the cable from the king said.

Saudi Press Agency reported the king called for an international effort to combat terrorism.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a cable to Sirisena, expressing his condolences and a speedy recovery to those injured in the attacks.

Seven suspects were arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday bomb attacks on eight churches and hotels in the island nation.

Other world leaders also condemned the attack. Here is a summary of the reactions:

United States of America

US President Donald Trump said the US sends its heartfelt condolonces to the people of Sri Lanka, adding his country is ready to help.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis condemned the attacks as “such cruel violence” and said he was close to the Christian community, hit while celebrating Easter.

United Kingdom

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attacks as “truly appalling.”
“The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time,” she tweeted.
“We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear.”

Netherlands

“Terrible reports from Sri Lanka about bloody attacks on hotels and churches on this Easter Sunday,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted after the attacks first emerged.
“Thoughts are with the victims and their relatives.”

Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was thinking of those killed in a “horrific terrorist attack.”
“To the beautiful people of Sri Lanka, Australia sends its heartfelt sympathies and our prayers and our support — and our offer to do whatever we can to support you in this terrible time of need,” he said in a statement.
“At this time as Easter Sunday draws to a conclusion here in Australia, our heart goes out to those Christians and all of those other innocents who have been slaughtered today in this horrific terrorist attack.”

New Zealand

A month after dozens of Muslims were killed in a shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the attack as “devastating.”
“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating.
“New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.”

Catholic Church in Jerusalem

The Catholic Church in Jerusalem said the blasts were particularly sad as they “came while Christians celebrate Easter.”
“We pray for the souls of the victims and ask for speedy recovery of the injured, and ask God to inspire the terrorists to repent of their killing and intimidation,” the statement said.
“We also express our solidarity with Sri Lanka and all its inhabitants in their various religious and ethnic backgrounds.”

India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed solidarity with the fellow South Asian country, and said “there is no place for barbarism in our region.”

Pakistan

Imran Khan also took to Twitter to condemn the attacks, saying: “My profound condolences go to our Sri Lankan brethren.”

Iran

Iran’s foreign minister says he is “terribly saddened” by the Easter Sunday bombings.

Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that “terrorism is a global menace with no religion: it must be condemned & confronted globally.”

Lebanon

Lebanon’s prime minister calls the attacks “blind terrorism” and offers solidarity to Sri Lanka’s people.

Saad Hariri in a tweet asks for mercy for the “innocent victims” and speedy recovery for the injured.

France

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Sunday the “odious” attacks that left 160 dead at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. “We strongly condemn these odious acts,” he wrote on Twitter. “Full solidarity with the Sri Lanka people and our thoughts for all those close to the victims this Easter.”

This article was first published in  Arab News

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‘Cities Destroyed by Terrorism’ expo to open in Riyadh

16/04/19

RIYADH: The impact of terrorism on heritage sites will be highlighted in an exhibition that opens on Wednesday in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“Cities Destroyed by Terrorism” is a 30-day show organized by the Ministry of Culture under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al-Saud.

It is the result of cooperation between the ministry and the Arab World Institute in Paris.

The exhibition will feature ancient and archaeological sites such as Libya’s Leptis Magna, Aleppo and Palmyra in Syria, and Mosul in Iraq.

“Through this exhibition we aim to help society realize the importance of heritage because it documents human history, which introduces us to the worlds of previous civilizations that were destroyed or neglected because of extremist and terrorist ideologies that found the areas of conflict an opportunity to threaten our history in the Middle East,” the prince said in February. The exhibition runs until May 17 at the capital’s National Museum.

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OIC forum delivers lesson in fight against terror

07/04/19

JEDDAH: Muslim countries’ use of education to combat terror and extremism will be explored in a two-day conference organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The forum will begin on Tuesday under the theme “The Role of Education in Combating Terrorism,” with the OIC represented by the Sawt Al-Hikmah (Voice of Wisdom) Center and Naif Arab University for Security Sciences.
Efforts by several nations to counter extremism and terrorism by revamping education will be reviewed at the conference.
Education specialists and academics will analyze steps to develop teaching systems that encourage a culture of tolerance and coexistence, and discuss the role educational institutions play in promoting ideas based on principles of peace, fellowship, and confronting violence and extremism.
Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, the OIC secretary-general, said that the conference takes place at a time when violent extremism that has plagued the Muslim world is on the rise.
He said it was essential to consider the ways in which education systems faced up to this phenomenon, which is “categorically alien to our societies.”
Earlier, the Saudi Cabinet reinforced its determination to confront hate speech, calling on the international community to take a tough stance against those attempting to spread hate, extremism and violence.

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Saudi Arabia condemns terrorist attacks in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq

Time: December 27, 2018

Smoke rises from the Libyan foreign ministry building in Tripoli, Libya December 25, 2018, in this still image obtained from a social media video. (Youtube/Mohammed Elgotani/via REUTERS)
  • The source reiterated the Kingdom’s rejection of terrorist attacks and their violation of all international laws

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia condemned in the strongest terms on Wednesday the attack on the Libyan Foreign Ministry building in Tripoli, reported the state run SPA.
An official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry also condemned the attack on the Afghan government building in Kabul and Tuesday’s car bombing in Iraq’s Tal Afar, which caused several casualties.
The source reiterated the Kingdom’s rejection of terrorist attacks and their violation of all international laws.
The source offered condolences, on behalf of the Kingdom, to the families of the victims in all three countries, as well as to their governments and people.

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