Saudi minister reaffirms Kingdom’s stance on Palestine as Arab information ministers meet in Cairo

Information Minister Awwad Al-Awwad at the 9th session of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Information Ministers in Cairo on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 09 May 2018

Saudi minister reaffirms Kingdom’s stance on Palestine as Arab information ministers meet in Cairo

  • The minister referred to the king’s recent affirmation that the Palestinian issue is still our first issue.
  • Awwad Al-Awwad pointed out that the Kingdom supports all efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad on Tuesday chaired the 9th regular session of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Information Minister in Cairo. 

Al-Awwad conveyed the wishes of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that resolutions would be reached in this session that contribute to the promotion of joint Arab media work within the framework of the Arab League.

The minister also referred to the king’s recent affirmation that “the Palestinian issue is still our first issue and will be so until the Palestinian people gain all their legitimate rights, foremost of which is the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem (Al-Quds) as its capital.”

He pointed out that the Kingdom supports all efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis in Yemen in a manner that ensures its unity, independence and territorial integrity.

He added: “The Kingdom also welcomes the statement issued by the Security Council, which strongly condemned the launching of more than 132 Iranian-made ballistic missiles by Houthi militias against Saudi cities, and the Kingdom affirms its commitment to provide humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people.”

He said: “The role of the Arab media in countering terrorism is one of the most important items before the Council, confirming our awareness of the importance of addressing this phenomenon and the pivotal role of media in confronting it.”

The minister also stressed that the Arab media nowadays has a key role and a great responsibility to play in saving lives and preserving property through the implementation of specific programs that identify, educate and disseminate awareness about this dangerous and destructive phenomenon and how to prevent it from spreading its poison.

He believed that the success of Arab efforts to combat terrorism requires all members’ coordination and concerted efforts for combating radical misguided ideas.

Al-Awwad concluded by stressing the need to consider addressing media issues in effective ways in line with the Council’s goals and visions. He hoped that the Council’s meeting would make effective decisions that have an impact on the Arab media and realize the aspirations of our Arab peoples.


Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

Updated 17 October 2019

Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

  • Intellectuals, diplomats discuss challenge of blending cultures, faiths and values

RIYADH/JEDDAH: The European envoy to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday called for more tolerance and respect to help bring diverse societies closer together.

Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.

Organized by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS), the event gathered together top intellectuals, diplomats and scholars to debate the issues of tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance of others.

Opening the lecture at the King Faisal Foundation building in Riyadh, d’Urso spoke about tolerance and how it was core to the transformation of societies, especially in Europe which had become more diverse.

“Today’s European society is a mixture of cultures, faiths, values, ideas, and habits. The challenge is to make sure our society is more inclusive, enhance mutual understanding and promote tolerance and respect,” the envoy said.

He pointed to the UN’s blossoming partnership with the KFCRIS and the importance of the lecture as key building blocks in the process of bridging cultural and religious gaps between societies.

“I think there are few more teams that are exchanging on the Saudi and European perspectives of religious tolerance and diversity. All of us know that the KFCRIS builds from the legacy of the late King Faisal and has been a pillar in promoting Islam,” d’Urso added.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.
  • Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.
  • The director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

He noted that in Europe there were many people of faith that had respect for coexistence. 

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.

He said a state that respected others, human existence and brotherhood could not exist “unless there is respect for diversity and differences as a universal norm that no one can collide.”

According to Al-Issa, the Charter of Madinah (regarded as the first Islamic state constitution) was considered one of the best achievements of civil legislation in human history. “This document was held by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, with the Jews and represented binding legislation for Muslims toward religious minorities.”

The MWL chief noted that the document included the protection of civil and religious rights. “The document cannot be absorbed by extremism, it is clear. These rights and freedoms have been preserved by this legislation. And the Prophet Muhammad coexisted with everyone and understood these differences and diversity.”

In his speech, Al-Issa explained how the Qur’an gave Jews and Christians a special name to celebrate their religious origins where they were called “people of the book,” in reference to the Torah and the Gospel. The history of Christians and Jews was also never omitted.

Addressing the event, director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

“We encounter such a diversity of ways of being Muslim from a theoretical, cultural, philosophical, ideological point of view. Any single Muslim group or community is represented somewhere in Europe and this situation puts European Muslims in a very unique environment which is different from any other Islamic majority society in the world,” said Privot.

He pointed out that for the first time in history Muslim groups from Uzbekistan and Senegal were living together and trying to become a community in European societies.

“Societies, which have completely liberalized the market of religions, believe all faiths are accepted,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, an MWL forum in Makkah recommended that Islamic discourse should adhere to the principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the Muslims’ uppermost legislative sources, which are also known as the Two Divine Revelations.

The forum, titled “The Service of the Two Revelations,” called upon concerned authorities in the Muslim world to regulate Islamic fatwas in a way that prevented extremism and stopped producing any misguided explanations of the divinely revealed texts.

The participants also encouraged the use of modern technology, especially social media, to better serve the Qur’an and Sunnah to help link Muslim youths with the two revelations.

In addition, the gathering proposed establishing platforms for producing software and smart apps related to the Qur’an and Sunnah and the launch of an international service award under the umbrella of the MWL.

Al-Issa added that the MWL had staged a number of Qur’an memorization programs in 78 countries and said there were now 68 colleges and institutes where 7,500 students were studying the Qur’an.

“Some 61,275 Qur’an readers have graduated from these institutes, with 5,055 reciters having obtained authentic reading certificates. The IOQAS (International Organization of Qitab and Sunnah) has also carried out 193 training courses and provided nearly 3,000 scholarships,” he said.