Saudi Arabia proud to create partnerships with Muslims all over the world: Islamic minister

Saudi and international delegates pose at the opening of the 30th session of the International Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Muslims in Sao Paulo on Friday. (SPA)
Updated 17 September 2017
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Saudi Arabia proud to create partnerships with Muslims all over the world: Islamic minister

SAO PAULO, Brazil: Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Saleh Al-Asheikh said the Saudi government and people are proud to communicate and create partnerships with Muslims all over the world, notably Latin America, in serving Islam and strengthening the moderate approach of Islam.
The minister’s remarks came at the opening of the 30th session of the International Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Muslims which started in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday. The ministry’s undersecretary, Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Ghannam Al-Ghannam, who is leading Saudi delegation at the conference, addressed the conference on behalf of the minister.
He said the Kingdom used to support the moderate Islamic approach which combines preservation of originality and constant Islamic teachings; promotes good dealing with Muslim and non-Muslims, irrespective of their sects and religions; strives for positive interaction in serving the security, stability and coexistence of societies; and faces all risks that could distort the good image of Islam or stir up divisions and spread hatred among communities.
Al-Ghannam also lauded the good message and objectives of the conference which are represented in deepening the Islamic identity through the family, mosques, and Islamic, educational and media institutions, as well as the enhancement of communication between the Islamic institutions in the Latin American and the Caribbean countries.
He said the session comes in light of critical conditions and changes at the world level and big challenges facing Muslims which require enormous efforts to preserve the Islamic identity.
For his part, the director of the Islamic Call Center in Latin American and the Caribbean countries, Ziyad bin Ahmed Al-Saifi, welcomed the Saudis and other delegates to the conference. He lauded the Saudi ministry’s efforts in organizing the current 30th session and the Kingdom’s continued efforts to support Muslim minorities and spread Islamic teachings.
Addressing the conference, Brazilian Parliament member Antonio Gollart affirmed the importance of the conference at it deals with a topic concerning humanity in general. He also expressed his admiration over the teachings of Islam which guarantee the rights of families and protects their original values and customs.
Palestinian Ambassador in Brazil Ibrahim Al-Zain also addressed the conference and appreciated the efforts of the Saudi government in supporting issues of Islam and Muslims around the world.
Sheikh Ahmed Al-Marzouq, from Lebanon, gave an address on behalf of the preachers participating in the conference. He expressed thanks to the Kingdom for its concern over the Islamic call and Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs’ support to preachers in different parts of the world.

For his part, adviser to the Palestinian president for religious affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, stressed the importance of human communication and building of one humanitarian family based on the principles of tolerance, love and brotherhood with their different religions and faiths.
The head of the Women’s Section at the Islamic Call Center in Latin American and Caribbean countries, Braa bint Ahmed Al-Saifi, appreciated the Kingdom’s efforts in sponsoring the current 30th session and its continued support to Muslim minorities in different parts of the world.
Bishop of Sao Paulo Carlos Lima Garcia also addressed the event and conveyed his greetings to leaders, scholars and preachers. He said the divine religions share with Islam its concern over families, their ethics, and youths and their protection from what is harmful to their societies.


Saudi Crown Prince takes Pakistan bond ‘to new level’

Updated 18 February 2019
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Saudi Crown Prince takes Pakistan bond ‘to new level’

  • Asseri said Saudi Arabia has deferred payments on oil worth billions of US dollars from time to time in order to ease pressure on the Pakistan economy
  • Pakistan’s relatively young population is also hoping for a stronger relationship with the Kingdom

RIYADH: A major transformation is underway in Saudi Arabia’s economic relationship with Pakistan, according to Dr. Ali Awadh Asseri, a former ambassador to Islamabad.

In a wide-ranging interview with Arab News, the former envoy said greater interaction between business and the private sectors in both countries will take the historical bond “to a new level.” 

Asseri, who spent nine years in Islamabad and was the second-longest serving Saudi ambassador to the country, said: “We know that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have always enjoyed an incomparable level of understanding and friendship based on religion, culture and values. There is a historical bond between the two countries. 

“I have no doubt that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is taking a cohesive approach to strengthen the relationship and take it to another level.” 

Asseri said that while Saudi Arabia and Pakistan cooperated closely on security matters, bilateral trade between the countries remained limited to about $4 billion. 

“We need to ... encourage the private sectors to interact more. We can help Pakistan’s industry and we need to become more involved in the trade sector. There are advanced industries and firms in Pakistan, and they have raw materials — it’s a good environment for investors.”

Asseri said Saudi Arabia has deferred payments on oil worth billions of US dollars from time to time in order to ease pressure on the Pakistan economy. The Kingdom is also making billion-dollar direct investments in the country in line with the China-Pakistan economic corridor. 

“I am happy to see a major transformation underway in Saudi-Pakistani economic relationships with our leadership and government deciding to invest in the economic development of Pakistan,” he said. 

The former ambassador said frequent official visits between the two countries were important. 

“I came back recently from Pakistan, and the vibe of the media, government and people was so optimistic. Pakistanis were excited about the crown prince’s visit. People hope it will bring great opportunities for the economy as well as strengthening the political and social ties between the two countries,” he said.

Asseri said Saudi Arabia and Pakistan had faced many challenges together in recent decades.

In 2001, during Asseri’s first year as Saudi ambassador in Pakistan, the 9/11 attacks on New York led to greater cooperation between Islamabad and Riyadh in dealing with terrorism.

The Kingdom had been closely involved with Pakistan since its independence, he said. “King Abdul Aziz sent King Saud and Prince Faisal to Pakistan at that time. So if we go back through history, we can see that this relationship is truly unique.” 

Asseri also highlighted the ties between the two countries on humanitarian issues, security and military issues, saying: “Pakistan has suffered serious security and humanitarian consequences of the decades-long war in Afghanistan, besides housing millions of Afghan refugees.

“Together Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have worked for peace in Afghanistan and will do whatever it takes to achieve this long-desired goal.”

Asseri said Pakistanis were quick to show their appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s assistance in the past regardless of the change in Pakistani leadership over the years. 

“The relationship is unique because it is between people. Such a relationship (will) keep growing with every generation.

“When Pakistan was in a difficult position in 2005 after a devastating earthquake, Saudi Arabia went out of its way to provide the support it needed. Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz and eight ministers visited Balochistan. Field hospitals were created with Saudi doctors treating people and performing surgery there.” 

Pakistan also has a deep loyalty to Saudi Arabia, Asseri said. “Pakistan has military expertise, and through cooperation between the two countries, it helped the Saudi military during its development.” 

“The Kingdom’s recent appointment of a Saudi commercial attache in Pakistan will also bolster the economic links between the two countries,” he said. 

“There are good minds in Pakistan and good products that could be manufactured in Saudi Arabia.”

Asseri said he is also optimistic that Saudi plans to build a major oil refinery in Gwadar will help create an “economic hub.” 

The former envoy said the Saudi crown prince’s visit to Pakistan will add to the relationship between the countries. 

Pakistan’s relatively young population is also hoping for a stronger relationship with the Kingdom. 

“Young Pakistanis who are advanced in the IT and industrial sectors are looking forward to helping and cooperating with Saudi Arabia, and sharing their experiences and knowledge,” he said.