Respect for other religions is vital for peaceful coexistence: MWL chief

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa. (Supplied)
Updated 06 May 2019

Respect for other religions is vital for peaceful coexistence: MWL chief

  • Al-Issa noted that education is one of the main drivers of a sustainable, peaceful future, stressing that “preparing teachers is the main point of focus”

JEDDAH: The Responsible Leaders Summit at the UN in New York stressed the pivotal role of Saudi Arabia in maintaining global harmony and peace, as well as its global status as the spiritual leader of the Muslim world, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.
The Muslim World League (MWL) secretary-general, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, delivered the opening and closing remarks at the summit along with Bawa Jain, secretary-general of the World Council of Religious Leaders.
Al-Issa focused on the vital role that responsible leadership plays in facing the many challenges of the modern world.
“It is important for leaders to inspire others and provide them with positive energy,” he said. “No matter what the differences in our culture or religion may be, we all agree on the key humanitarian norms that constitute the framework of our natural law. Even 10 percent of this common ground is enough to bring about global harmony and peace.”
He went on to list several attributes central to responsible leadership, including strength and integrity; a knowledge of history and a willingness to learn from it; being proactive and constantly monitoring performance; and recognition that the “most important pillar of (one’s) own nation’s peace” is “world peace.”
Al-Issa noted that education is one of the main drivers of a sustainable, peaceful future, stressing that “preparing teachers is the main point of focus.”
Al-Issa also addressed the responsibilities of religious leaders. “These include countering hate speech and all theories of religious or ethnic extremism that lead to violence or terrorism, while strengthening the intellectual immunity of all — especially young people — through their spiritual influence,” he said. “Extreme religious and terrorist ideologies are not established by military force, but by religious people who choose to adopt radical ideologies.
“We say there is no such thing as a ‘radical religion,’ but there is also no religion that does not have some extremist followers,” he continued.
Respect for other religions and their followers, he said, is vital for peaceful coexistence. The efforts of certain isolated religious and sectarian groups to impose their ideals on others, and reject the rights of others to exist, have led to exclusion, hatred and hostility, he added.
“Such negative ideas have created extremism of all kinds, including the (rise of the) extreme right in some countries,” Al-Issa noted, adding that each and every case of extremism —  whether political, religious or intellectual —  is a threat to world peace.
“Evil grows with time, through its effects on unconscious emotions. All stable people are aware that extremist rhetoric has a painful end. They also realize that its quick gains are deceptive. (It is) a seed of evil that will backfire,” he said.
“Evil only expands in the absence of good, injustice in the absence of justice, ignorance in the absence of knowledge, and negative opportunism at the expense of public interests in the absence of values with effective laws,” he concluded. “The fence of our human harmony can only be breached when it is unguarded.”

Arab coalition: Iran provided weapons used to attack Saudi Aramco sites

Updated 17 min 24 sec ago

Arab coalition: Iran provided weapons used to attack Saudi Aramco sites

  • US official says all options, including a military response, are on the table
  • Washington blames Iran for the attack on an oil processing plant and an oil field

RIYADH: Iran provided the weapons used to strike two Saudi Aramco facilities in the Kingdom, the Arab coalition fighting in Yemen said Tuesday.

“The investigation is continuing and all indications are that weapons used in both attacks came from Iran,” coalition spokesman Turki Al-Maliki told reporters in Riyadh, adding they were now probing “from where they were fired.”

The coalition supports the Yemen government in the war against the Iran-backed Houthi militants, which claimed they had carried out the attack on Saturday.



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US officials have said Iran was behind the attack on an oil processing plant and an oil field, and that the raid did not come from Yemen, but from the other direction.

“This strike didn't come from Yemen territory as the Houthi militia are pretending,” Maliki said, adding that an investigation was ongoing into the attacks and their origins.

The Kingdom's Foreign Ministry said international experts, including from the UN, will be invited to participate in the investigation.

Preliminary investigations showed that Iranian weapons were used in the attack, which knocked out more than half of Saudi Arabia's oil production and damaged the world's biggest crude processing plant, the ministry statement said.

"The kingdom is capable of defending its land and people and responding forcefully to those attacks," it added.

The ministry said the attack above all targeted global oil supplies and called it an extension of previous hostile acts against oil pumping stations in May.

The Houthis have carried out scores of attacks against Saudi Arabia using drones and ballistic missiles.

Al-Maliki labelled the Houthis “a tool in the hands of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the terrorist regime of Iran.”

The attacks against Abqaiq, the world's largest oil processing facility, and the Khurais oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia knocked out nearly half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production.

Crude prices rocketed on Monday by more than 10 percent.

Iran has denied involvement, something US President Donald Trump questioned Sunday in a tweet saying “we'll see?”

Later on Monday, Trump said it was "looking likely" that Iran was responsible for the attacks.

A satellite image of Saudi Aramco infrastructure at Khurais. (US Government/DigitalGlobe/ via Reuters)

Trump said "we pretty much already know" but that Washington still wanted more proof. "We want to find definitively who did this."
"With all that being said, we'd certainly like to avoid" war, he said. "I don't want war with anybody but we're prepared more than anybody."

Trump had raised the possibility of military retaliation after the strikes on Sunday, saying Washington was “locked and loaded” to respond.

The US has offered a firm response in support of its ally, and is considering increasing its intelligence sharing with Saudi Arabia as a result of the attack, Reuters reported.

A US official told AP that all options, including a military response, were on the table, but added that no decisions had been made.

The US government also on Monday produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at the oil processing plant at Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field. Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south.

Also on Monday, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that he had spoken over the weekend with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and an Iraqi defense official about the recent attack on the oil facilities.

Iraq said the attacks were not launched from its territory and on Sunday Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told him that Washington possesses information that backs up the Iraqi government’s denial.

Condemnation of the attacks continued from both within Saudi Arabia and from around the world.

Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council called Tuesday for concerted efforts to hold those behind the attacks accountable.

Meanwhile, the UN’s special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais had consequences well beyond the region and risked dragging Yemen into a “regional conflagration.”

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said during a visit to Iraq that he was "extremely concerned" about escalating tensionsand accused Iran of "destabilizing" the region.

*With AFP, AP, Reuters