Muslim World League chief in plea for ‘civilized leadership’

MWL Secretary-General Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa speaks at St. Petersburg State University. (SPA)
Updated 06 April 2019

Muslim World League chief in plea for ‘civilized leadership’

  • Al-Issa calls for ‘enlightened vision’ to tackle global issues

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia: Cooperation between nations and peoples depends on “civilized leadership” and adherence to common values, according to Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL).
In a lecture at St. Petersburg State University, Al-Issa called on political leaders to show “enlightened vision” as they seek solutions to national and global issues.
The MWL chief was speaking before Prof. Nikolay Kropachev, rector of the university, along with teaching staff, academics, researchers and students.
He highlighted the importance of civilized communication between countries and peoples to promote rapprochement, understanding and exchange, and to eliminate “negative barriers and misconceptions usually found in the absence of dialogue.”
Human beings share many values, Al-Issa said. In order to survive and stay healthy, civilizations need to rely on justice and foresight, using the skills of management, communication and respect for common law.
“Adopting justice, values and positive openness with the skills of communication and foresight leads to civilized leadership,” he said.
“Building a national personality with enlightened vision is a basis of leadership and the solution to many of nations’ and states’ problems. Spiritual values are often applied in words but not in honest actions.”
Civilizations are eroded if they go against the principles of common humanitarian law, he said.
Al-Issa also called on media to maintain high standards. “If media dominance is lacking values, it will result in fact-falsifying and brainwashing,” he said.
The MWL chief said that “real power today no longer relies on solid power solely but also on soft power, which is often a decisive element.”
Al-Issa praised Russia as an “open civilization,” saying the country supports houses of worship as part of its national cultural heritage, while other secular nations “are drowning in separating the spiritual and physical worlds.”
These countries “not only fail to appreciate the religious aspect, but also reject its official existence, recognizing certain religions and rejecting others. This duality does not serve national harmony and even complicates integration plans,” he said.
Positive integration contributes to the power of a civilization, provided all religions are equal. Minorities, whatever their religion and ethnicity, should be considered part of the national culture, Al-Issa said.  

Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019

Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.