Saudi Arabia offers its expertise for training imams and preachers in Belgium

Special Adviser to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, Ibrahim Al-Zaid presenting a memento to Dirk Achten, vice-minister and secretary general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 09 November 2017

Saudi Arabia offers its expertise for training imams and preachers in Belgium

RIYADH: The Kingdom has offered its assistance for training imams and preachers in mosques and Islamic centers in Belgium, during discussions which took place between the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance and the visiting delegation from Belgium.

The joint meeting between the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi ministry was held on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs Riyadh.

The Saudi team was headed by the special adviser to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Zaid, and the Belgian group was headed by Dirk Achten, vice-minister and secretary-general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, who wrapped up his two-day visit to the capital on Tuesday. Belgian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Geert Criel was also present during the discussions.

Belgium has some 700,000 Muslims out of its 11 million population.

During the meeting, discussions focused on the issues of extremism, the fight against extremist ideas, religious fanaticism at various regional and international levels and its motives, methods of containment and treatment, and the conditions of religious institutions in Belgium.

During the meeting, the Islamic Affairs Ministry told the Belgium delegation what the ministry can provide in the field of training and qualifying imams and preachers in mosques and Islamic centers in Belgium.

Al-Zaid stressed the depth of relations between the Kingdom and Belgium in various fields, noting the Kingdom’s appreciation and respect for the Muslims in Belgium, pointing out that the mosque and the Islamic Center in Brussels was established by the Kingdom during the reign of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz.

The center, which was opened by King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz in 1978, remains as one of the first mosques and Islamic centers established in Europe.

He stressed that this center has been playing a great role in strengthening relations between the Kingdom and Belgium. He described Saudi-Belgian relations in the field of Islamic affairs as “age-old.”

During his brief visit to Riyadh, Achten held talks with officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the GCC Secretariat and also visited Mohamed bin Naif Center for Counseling and Care headquartered in Riyadh.

In an earlier interview with Ambassador Criel, the envoy said the talks of his country’s delegates with Saudi officials focused on countering extremism and they were also interested to learn more from the Kingdom’s experience in combating extremism.

Saudi Arabia tells UN: We are promoting sustainable methods in housing

Updated 37 sec ago

Saudi Arabia tells UN: We are promoting sustainable methods in housing

JEDDAH: The Saudi Green Building Forum (SGBF) has shown that its mission aligns with the UN Commission for Social Development. 
A SGBF delegation attended the 58th session of the commission at UN headquarters in New York City on Wednesday.
The SGBF demonstrated its commitment to affordable housing through environmentally sustainable practices.
“The SGBF supports the integration of affordable housing within urban developments, architectural design and use of materials that support occupants’ wellbeing, and minimizing construction waste through efficient methods,” said Faisal Al-Fadl, SGBF chair representative to the UN.
Al-Fadl told Arab News: “Saudi Arabia is addressing key messages on clean energy and is focusing on a low-carbon, resource-efficient, inclusive circular economy and building systems addressing these core issues.
“The Kingdom is complying with the principle of sustainability and is helping to advance the resilience of our cities.”
The UN Commission for Social Development’s role is to monitor national and global socioeconomic trends, identify emerging issues and assess their implications for social policy at the national and international levels.
The session reviewed some of the social challenges of implementing the 2030 Agenda, with a focus on issues relevant to the three core social development goals identified at the World Summit for Social Development. 
The goals are eradicating poverty, promoting productive employment and decent work and promoting social inclusion.
The SGBF’s mission focuses on the resilience of city development practices within affordable housing developments to minimize negative impacts on the planet and citizens.
The forum addressed the practices of green systems and sustainable development in the Arab world. It said it will continue to work with the commission to support new resolutions on social and development issues, including the first-ever text on homelessness to be approved by a UN intergovernmental body.