Diversity is part of human nature, says Muslim World League chief Al-Issa

Muslim World League Secretary-General Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa at the Wilton Park Forum. (SPA)
Updated 11 March 2019

Diversity is part of human nature, says Muslim World League chief Al-Issa

  • MWL chief urges steps to promote inclusive citizenship
  • Al-Issa was speaking at the Wilton Park Forum in London

LONDON: The world needs generations raised with an education that teaches them how to think, promotes accepting and respecting others, and instills a belief that diversity is part of human nature, according to Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL). 

Al-Issa’s comments came during an address to the Wilton Park Forum, held for three days in the UK to discuss “Promoting Inclusive Citizenship,” with the support of the British government and the attendance of a number of religious, political and intellectual figures. 

“All of our participations aim to protect human dignity, including protecting people’s rights and legitimate freedoms in the light of the constitutional provisions and laws,” he said. “We have also agreed on the importance of understanding the nature of diversity as a human nature that God has created and then guided people to dialogue for the sake of reaching mutual understanding, convergence and cooperation.” 

Al-Issa quoted a verse from the Qur’an that says: “And if Allah had willed, He could have made you (of) one religion, but He causes to stray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And you will surely be questioned about what you used to do.”

The MWL chief added: “God has created diverse people, and had He willed, He could have made them one nation, which means there will be a negative difference between them and only an aware group of people will be able to overcome this difference by realizing God’s wisdom in diversity.” 

He pointed out that the verse indicates that God created people for that diversity. “This invites us to reflect on the divine wisdom, the test it conveys, and the subsequent reward in the Hereafter,” he said. “If people were not diverse, they would have been a different creation like angels, who were created in one form.”

Al-Issa discussed the challenges facing inclusive citizenship, in particular the lack of awareness that often arises from a negative family or school environment, a negative general culture established by religious, political and legislative discourse as well as the negative discourse of civil society institutions, in addition to the availability of fair values in the vision, mission and objectives of each state. 

“We must explore ways to treat this problem, review ideal global experiences in this regard, and learn the secret behind their success and excellence in inclusive citizenship and positive integration between their religious and ethnic diversities,” he said. 

The MWL chief said that the most important problem associated with inclusive citizenship has to do with the foundations of the general culture, which requires the employment of effective practical programs that suit the conditions of each society. 

“How great it would be to see everyone during national occasions at the height of convergence as they rally under the flag of one country, proving in practice that difference does not mean hatred or exclusion. It is also important to build inclusive moral institutions on the foundations of the citizenship project.”

“From here, we welcome the human harmony, or the human family, that exceeds the abstract meaning of fraternity imposed on us as a fate. Man is the brother of man, whether he wishes it or not. How great it would be if this harmony included everyone, not only in spiritual words or through the Abrahamic system so as not to fall into the taboo classification and exclusion of humanity in general.

“Spiritual people can also set their own framework for fraternity, harmony, or the faith family. For instance, the Abrahamic system in the human harmony project has a restriction that excludes half the population of the earth.

“Special groups, whether Abrahamic or otherwise, can cooperate in any productive work that is beneficial for them and for all mankind without bearing any exclusionary message on the subject of coexistence and human peace in general,” Al-Issa said.

CEO of Neom mega city project meets first group of scholarship students

Updated 48 sec ago

CEO of Neom mega city project meets first group of scholarship students

  • Fifteen students were chosen for the first phase of the program
  • The aim of the scholarship program is to develop skills among the local population

TABUK: Nazmi Al-Nasr, the CEO of Neom project, on Monday met the first batch of students to benefit from an external scholarship program sponsored by the developer of the ambitious, $500 billion mega city project in the Tabuk Province of northwestern Saudi Arabia.
Fifteen students were chosen for the first phase of the program, which focused on applicants in communities close to the Neom site in Duba and Haql. In all, 250 students are expected to receive scholarships over the next five years, and will study at universities in the United States.
The students gave presentations to Al-Nasr and Neom’s social responsibility team, detailing their their specialties and ambitions for the ways in which they will contribute to one of the most ambitious development projects in the world.
“Investing in human resources is a key building block for the success of any future plan or project, and the people in the Neom community, of both sexes, are the best,” said Al-Nasr. “We can rely on them to reach our goals, which include...attracting the best talents and minds to build the city of the future in Neom.”
The aim of the scholarship program is to develop skills among the local population, involve it in the development of the project and provide the recipients of the scholarships with suitable job opportunities with the Neom project when their studies are complete. The first phase of the program includes developing skills in the fields of tourism, hospitality and archaeology. Other disciplines will be added as the project progresses.
More than 300 students applied for the first phase of the scholarship program. Of those, 50 progressed to the final selection stages, before 15 were offered sponsorship to study for bachelor’s degrees. After a two-month foundation course in the English language, in partnership with the University of Tabuk, the students will travel to the US in January, where their education will begin.