Muslim World League, Patriarchate of Moscow sign cooperation deal

Muslim World League Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa meets Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia Kirill I. (SPA)
Updated 25 July 2019

Muslim World League, Patriarchate of Moscow sign cooperation deal

  • The agreement also rejects all forms of extremism and hatred

MOSCOW: The Muslim World League (MWL) and the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia signed on Wednesday an agreement to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue, as well as a culture of peace and constructive coexistence.

The agreement, which also rejects all forms of extremism and hatred, was co-signed in Moscow by the MWL’s undersecretary of relations and communication, and the head of the Department for External Church Relations.

It was signed in the presence of MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa and Patriarch Kirill I.

The agreement reflects the two sides’ belief in the importance of interreligious dialogue and the role of religious institutions in resolving international conflicts, as well as the desire of Muslims and Christians to promote peaceful and constructive coexistence.

Al-Issa and Kirill I held a historic summit on Wednesday at the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow.

It is considered the largest independent Eastern Orthodox Church, with more than 250 million followers.

The summit, attended by senior religious leaders, included fruitful discussions on issues of mutual interest.

Kirill I said he was “very happy” with Al-Issa’s visit to Russia, noting the significant and enlightened role of the MWL.

“You’re helping many needy people in Asia and Africa, and this is the subject of our deep concern and appreciation,” the patriarch added.

HIGHLIGHT

The agreement covers cooperation between cultures and civilizations; promoting peace and human rights; improving societies’ ethics, academic communication and information exchange; religious minority issues in crisis situations; and media-related matters.

“Owing to your personal contribution to the MWL’s activities, the league has become well-known in the Christian world, which appreciates these remarkable activities,” he said.

“The Orthodox Church has a great network of relations with Islamic societies and communities, and there’s communication with Muslims in our country. The history of Russia has never seen wars or conflicts with Muslims,” Kirill I added.

“Since Orthodox Christians and Muslims belong to the Eastern civilization, we share many commonalities. My job … has made this fact very clear to me.”

Kirill I underscored the Russian people’s unity regardless of religion, sect or ethnicity. “Russia can serve as an example for countries and representatives of faiths and sects,” he said.

Al-Issa said: “I’m happy to visit the Russian Orthodox Church and to meet with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill I, who is known for his outstanding efforts in promoting religious harmony and coexistence as well as love and tolerance.”

Al-Issa added. “We in the MWL, and on behalf of all Muslim people, appreciate the humanitarian and moral efforts of the Orthodox Church, and value its fair feelings toward Islam.”

He said: “We appreciate your describing terrorism as having no religion and stating that Islam … has nothing to do with terrorism.”

He added: “I’ve met with a number of Muslims, especially Muslim scholars in Russia, and they hold great esteem for the Orthodox Church for its efforts to preserve religious harmony, which are appreciated historic efforts.”

Al-Issa said: “The commonalities we share are many, especially the convergence of Eastern culture with its human and moral values.”

He said: “There won’t be a cultural shock between us because we belong to one Eastern culture and have several humanitarian goals.”

Al-Issa said: “With your wisdom, we can promote religious and ethnic cooperation. We, in the Muslim world, believe in your great role and are sure of its importance and impact.”


Asian religious leaders map agenda for G20 interfaith meeting in Riyadh

Updated 06 August 2020

Asian religious leaders map agenda for G20 interfaith meeting in Riyadh

  • Delegates discussed ways to address a number of priority issues in the region

RIYADH: Asian religious leaders, policymakers, and experts on Wednesday met to map out key regional issues for discussion at the G20 Interfaith Forum due to take place in Riyadh in October.

The virtual regional consultative session, run from Vienna, was organized by the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the G20 Interfaith Forum Association and Saudi Arabia’s National Committee for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue.

Delegates discussed ways to address a number of priority issues in the region including how leaderships and religious institutions could support policymakers in strengthening the regional response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and contribute to developing policy recommendations to back religious and humanitarian organizations in Asia.

Participants reviewed a list of topics surrounding religious values for this year’s G20 — in accordance with the priorities of host country Saudi Arabia — which included matters relating to women and youth, climate change and preservation of the planet’s natural resources, and the adoption of long-term strategies to share the benefits of innovation and technological progress.

Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar, KAICIID secretary-general, said that Asian countries had always been the center’s focus of attention, most notably Myanmar, and that it was gradually expanding its activities to include other countries in the region.

“Since 2016, the center has supported the efforts of leaderships and religious organizations in consolidating coexistence and peace,” he added.

He noted KAICIID’s support for the Peaceful Myanmar Initiative (PMI), a network of diverse religious groups and policymakers.

Muaammar said the center aimed to expand its work in Asia and regionalize its activities while building partnerships with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and other international development bodies that contributed to enhancing sustainable peaceful coexistence in the region.

KAICIID had enhanced its presence among youth in Asia through cooperation initiatives and support for a dialogue program for peace it had established in partnership with the World Organization of the Scout Movement, added Muammar.

In relation to the COVID-19 outbreak, he noted that the center sought to support local organizations through various projects including one which involved the transformation of a training center for interreligious dialogue into a quarantine facility.