Defeat twisted ideologies: Muslim World League chief

Mohammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), speaks on the theme “Tackling Violence Committed in the Name of Religion” at a conference organized by the British Foreign Office in Rome.
Updated 04 February 2018
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Defeat twisted ideologies: Muslim World League chief

JEDDAH: Violence committed in the name of religion is not only the responsibility of those who adopt twisted ideologies, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Mohammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa told world leaders recently in the Italian capital of Rome.
Religious institutions that fail to combat extremism and the educational systems that fail to focus on cross-cultural communication skills must also take the blame, he said.
Al-Issa was speaking on the theme “Tackling Violence Committed in the Name of Religion” at a conference organized by the British Foreign Office and attended by religious and political leaders from around the world.
In his speech, Al-Issa pointed out that “the world today suffers from the continuation of violence committed in the name of religion and the poor presence of influential religious and intellectual leaders.”
He added: “Denunciation, condemnation, and declaring having nothing to do with extremism, violence, and terrorism are not enough for dealing with violence committed in the name of religion.
“What matters is what we have done to rid the world of these epidemics, which are now using deceptive methods of which we must be aware.”
Speaking of the shared responsibility for extremism, Al-Issa stressed that “every time violence in the name of religion was found, it was a result of the neglect of religious minds. Religious programs must focus more on instilling moral and behavioral values, promoting respect for diversity and differences, and strengthening the values of peace, love, and cooperation.”
He continued: “Throughout history, religious wars have been waged for political ambitions and as a result of sectarian cleansing and cultural hegemony, which is hostile to other religions, cultures, and civilizations, while many sensible religious, intellectual, and political leaders have been either not playing any role at all or playing a weak role.
“If these episodes of violence in the name of religion were not combated using a greater force, which is religious and intellectual activities, they will grow, multiply, and spread.
“Most of this violence is based on an exclusionary, hate-filled ideology that does not wish to coexist with those who do not believe in the same ideas, and this mental imbalance stems from unhealthy social, educational, intellectual, and political roots.”
Al-Issa believes it is courageous of religious leaders to hold themselves accountable for any ideological disorder that hides behind religion.
“Only sensible people are capable of accepting differences and diversity, as well as understanding the values of religions,” he added, “The more honest, determined, and capable we are, the more likely we are to defeat extremism and help peace and harmony prevail in this world.”
He continued: “We realize that the use of hard power in the face of ideologies and cultures often results in financial and moral losses, in addition to further deepening the conflict and its complexity. Wise people believe in soft power because ideologies can only be faced with ideologies, and this kind of power can uproot the corrupt plant as a whole. History has taught us an unforgettable lesson in this.”
Al-Issa pointed out that violence in the name of religion expanded only in areas where extremist thoughts were not taken seriously — no matter the pretext: “Extremist ideologies sometimes lead to violence, and violence may lead to terrorism in ever-expanding episodes,” he added.
Al-Issa explained that the MWL, a global Islamic institution headquartered in Makkah, acts as a reference for all Muslims. It has played an important role in countering extremist ideologies by developing many programs and initiatives as well as partnering with many religious bodies around the world — most recently, the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue.
The MWL secretary-general stressed that, throughout history, political agendas have formed alliances with those who exploit religion in their favor because it is easy and most powerful to use religion as a tool for influencing the masses.
He believes fighting extremism nowadays is tougher than ever owing to the creation of social media platforms, which made sending messages to the masses around the world and brainwashing them easy.
Al-Issa concluded by urging everyone to realize the magnitude of the dangers facing the world. “We must work together to spread the cultures of civilized communication, love, respect, diversity, tolerance and coexistence,” he said, “Hate speech must be combated with great determination.”


Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

Umm Al-Qura was the first newspaper to be published during the time of Saudi Arabia's founder.
Updated 21 May 2018
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Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

  • It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz
  • Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924

MAKKAH: It is considered one of the most important and prestigious Saudi Arabian newspapers. 

It has witnessed crucial decisions in the country, observed the history of the region throughout a century, recording details of life in the Kingdom becoming a reference for historical decisions and events.

Umm Al-Qura’s Editor in Chief Abdullah Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has the support and supervision of Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, who has harnessed all the resources for its modern launch. Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924.

It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz. The headline in the first issue of the newspaper was “The Makkah Declaration,” and this story was accompanied by news and official statements.

Al-Ahmadi said that the paper continued its coverage during World War II, although its presses did stop for a period of up to eight weeks in 1924 before King Abdul Aziz ordered paper to be imported and printing to resume.

Umm Al-Qura’s first editor in chief was Sheikh Yusuf Yassin, who was followed by Rushdi Malhas. Both figures held diplomatic positions during King Abdul Aziz’s reign, along with Mohammed Saeed Abdul Maksoud, Fouad Shaker and Abdul Quddus Al-Ansari.

Al-Ahmadi added that the newspaper has monitored the personal stories of the Kingdom’s kings, giving precise details of the historical and political events of the last century. He added that it has the full Saudi archive and it has become a historical reference for history, the economy and politics.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper was a combination of news, sports and social events during 30 years of its foundation. It had adverts on some pages, reflecting the region’s identity and local, economic and cognitive dimensions.

Al-Ahmadi said that with its launch, the newspaper formed the memory, aspirations and ambitions of Saudi Arabia. It was the only media platform in which the world explored the local news, along with the cultural, educational and economic news. 

It covered their advocacy of the crucial decisions — notably the Palestinian cause that Saudi Arabia has defended since the time of its founder.

Umm Al-Qura’s editor in chief said his main concern, along with his former colleagues in the newspaper’s management, was its development and relaunch, pointing out that a number of challenges have been overcome. 

The newspaper has been developed across the board — from layout and content to its brand logo and colors, he said.

Al-Ahmadi added that new and modern printers have been provided, and the newspaper has improved in line with technical and modern changes. 

He said the government also helped restore the back issues damaged by moths.

The operation was carried out by specialized experts who supervised the whole operation to protect the issues from getting lost. All issues were archived online and missing issues are being updated, he added.

Al-Ahmadi said that the newspaper’s website will provide a digital media platform for the documentation process, giving integrated information about the newspaper.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has a website archive for researchers and academics. 

He added that a large number of master’s and doctorate degrees as well as surveys took place with the help of the newspaper that has become a historic reference for scholars and researchers.