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.

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

Updated 22 October 2019

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

  • “We share common values,” said Majid Al-Qasabi

TOKYO: Saudi Arabia has a “special relationship” with Japan, which is “reliable strategic partner and friend” of the Kingdom, the Saudi Minister for Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi said on Monday.

The minister was speaking at the launch in Tokyo of the Japanese-language online edition of Arab News, in the latest stage of its global expansion. The event came on the eve of Tuesday’s ceremonial enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in the Japanese capital. “This is a great opportunity, a moment in history,” Al-Qasabi said.

The news website, published in Japanese and English, will focus on enabling the exchange of information between Japan and the Arab world in business, current affairs, and arts and culture. “It will be good to have news in Japanese so many Japanese can read about the Arab world,” Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono said at the launch.

Common values

“We share common values, we have a high respect for the elders and we think that the family is very important … to me we are friends and I think we need to work together.

“In order to do that we need to know what people in the Middle East are actually thinking, what is happening on a daily basis, and we haven’t got the source for that — but now Arab News is in Japan.

“This is a very good means to exchange information between the Middle East and Japan, so I am very much looking forward to it.”