Muslim World League head urges faith leaders to travel to Jerusalem seeking peace

The crisis cannot be tackled except by great influential men powered with logical wisdom and justice, said Mohammed Al-Issa Secretary-general, MWL.
Updated 06 October 2018

Muslim World League head urges faith leaders to travel to Jerusalem seeking peace

  • The call was made at the opening of the second Conference on Cultural Rapprochement between the US and the Muslim World in New York on Oct. 4
  • The peace initiative by the head of the Makkah-based MWL followed calls for peace by Jewish and Christian American religious leaders

NEW YORK: In an unprecedented move, Sheikh Mohammed Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), has called on faith leaders to travel to Jerusalem by launching a “peace caravan” made up of religious messengers who are independent of any political affiliation. 

The call was made at the opening of the second Conference on Cultural Rapprochement between the US and the Muslim World in New York on Oct. 4. 

“This convoy should represent the three religions to visit all the holy places in Jerusalem. The crisis cannot be tackled except by great influential men powered with logical wisdom and justice,” Al-Issa said to some 400 US, Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders and thinkers.

The peace initiative by the head of the Makkah-based MWL followed calls for peace by Jewish and Christian American religious leaders. 

Charles Small, president of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, said the greatest victim of antisemitism in America today are Muslims. Quoting the Jewish writer and Holocaust survival the late Elie Wiesel, Small said that “while antisemitism begins with Jews it doesn’t end with Jews.”

Shawki Allam, the grand mufti of Egypt, focused on the need for a positive intervention, saying that he hopes to make a “positive contribution in the effort to place the foundation of a holistic approach to dialogue.”

The president of the Emirates Fatwa Council, Abdallah bin Bayyah, spoke about religion’s approach to tolerating the other. “We want all religions, and their adherents, to move from simple acknowledgment of the other to the Qur’anic calling of coming to know one another.”

It is noteworthy that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has regularly called on Muslims and Arabs who can visit Jerusalem to do so saying that visiting a prisoner is not legitimizing the jailers, a reference to the suggestion that such a visit represents normalization with Israel.

Al-Issa tackled the label of extremism in his closing speech on the conference’s first day. “Great religions are not extreme by nature; and at the same time, there is no religion that is free of extremists who believe that they solely are privileged with the absolute truth.”


Lebanon president to chair crisis talks over weekend violence

Updated 17 min 57 sec ago

Lebanon president to chair crisis talks over weekend violence

  • The meeting will touch on “security developments” in the country
  • Lebanon has been without a government since outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s under-fire president is set to meet Monday with top security officials to discuss rare violence over the weekend that left hundreds wounded in the protest-hit country.

Michel Aoun will be joined by the care-taker ministers of the interior and defense as well as the chiefs of the military and security agencies in the early afternoon, his office said in a statement.

The meeting will touch on “security developments” in a country rocked since October 17 by unprecedented protests against a political class deemed incompetent, corrupt and responsible for an ever-deepening economic crisis.

It will also address “measures that need to be taken to preserve peace and stability,” the state-run National News agency (NNA) reported.

Demonstrators at the weekend lobbed stones, firecrackers and street signs at riot police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets to clear a flashpoint road near parliament.

Over the most violent weekend in three months of street protests, some 530 were wounded on both sides, according to a toll compiled by AFP from figures provided by the Red Cross and Civil Defense.

Lawyers and rights groups have condemned the “excessive” and “brutal” use of force by security forces.

Human Rights Watch accused riot police of “launching tear gas canisters at protesters’ heads, firing rubber bullets in their eyes and attacking people at hospitals and a mosque.”

Internal Security Forces, for their part, have urged demonstrators to abstain from assaulting riot police and damaging public or private property.
Protesters had called for a week of “anger” over the political leadership’s failure to form a new government even as the debt-ridden country sinks deeper into a financial crisis.

Lebanon has been without a government since outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29 in the face of popular pressure.

Political factions agreed on December 19 to appoint former education minister Hassan Diab as the new premier but have since squabbled over ministerial posts and portfolios.

Protesters have demanded a new government be comprised solely of independent experts, and exclude all established political parties.

The United Nations’ envoy to Lebanon pinned the blame for the violence on politicians.

“Anger of the people is understandable, but it is different from vandalism of political manipulators, that must be stopped,” Jan Kubis wrote on Twitter on Saturday.