Dialogue a must to resolve conflicts, head of Saudi-led interfaith dialogue center tells G20 forum

KAICIID Secretary-General Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muammar speakinga the G20 Interfaith Forum in Tokyo on June 9, 2019. (Twitter)
Updated 11 June 2019

Dialogue a must to resolve conflicts, head of Saudi-led interfaith dialogue center tells G20 forum

  • Religion should be seen as ‘part of solution’, interfaith forum told
  • 84% of world’s population professes a religious faith or tradition, majority of whom are encouraged by their values to do good, says KAICIID chief

TOKYO: The secretary-general of the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muammar, has stressed the importance of focusing on common values and ethics to resolve various issues in the world.

In his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the G20 Interfaith Forum in Tokyo on Saturday, he highlighted the importance of dialogue to resolve conflicts and ensure global peace.

The KAICIID chief expressed his pride in his organization’s contributions to and support of previous G20 Interfaith Forums held in Argentina and Germany.

He stressed the importance of the forum in bringing to light the vital work and contributions of religious communities, leaders and organizations, and stated the main goal of the forum was to bring religious insights to the attention of political leaders during the G20 Summit to be held on June 28–29 in Osaka.

Bin Muammar said in addition to wars, violence and climate change, the world is faced with new challenges that need to be addressed, such as technological revolution, digital currency, artificial intelligence and trade disputes.

We cannot achieve peaceful and cohesive societies without engaging religious communities in the dialogue about the problems.

Faisal bin Muammar, KAICIID secretary-general

He pointed out that 84 percent of the world’s population professes a religious faith or tradition, and that the vast majority of these people are encouraged by their values to do good. 

“The desire to achieve peace, equality and justice are common to all religions,”he said.

Bin Muammar said: “We must allow religion to be seen as a key part of the solution, and not, as is often the case, the cause of the problem. There can be no more excuse for blaming religion or religious leaders. 

“We need to encourage policymakers to embrace the tremendous force for good that the faith community, faith actors and faith-based organizations represent in our world.”

He also urged the UN, governments and the international community to include faith-based organizations in the decision-making process.

“We cannot achieve peaceful and cohesive societies without engaging religious communities in the dialogue about the problems and potential solutions,” he said.

KAICIID, he said, had established sustainable dialogue platforms to help combat hate speech and other forms of incitement to violence, and shaped policy on reconciliation and peace processes through interfaith dialogue in the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Myanmar and the Arab world.

He said KAICIID’s journey showed that when societies are faced with conflict, solutions lie in focusing on common values and ethics, to which religion paves the way.

The annual G20 Interfaith Forum in Tokyo was launched under the title “Working for Peace, People, and Planet: Challenges to the G20,” with the participation of three former prime ministers of the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, representatives of the UN, international organizations, academics, and a recorded message from Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. As many as 2,000 participants attended the conference’s sessions to exchange experiences and prepare appropriate recommendations.


Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.