Muslim leader calls for tolerance at opening of new Islamic center in France

MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa inaugurates the French Institute of Islamic Civilization in Lyon. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 27 September 2019

Muslim leader calls for tolerance at opening of new Islamic center in France

  • Al-Issa pointed out that Islam respected human rights and freedoms within the framework of its legislation

LYON: The head of the Muslim World League (MWL) called for further efforts to promote religious and cultural tolerance at the opening of a new Islamic center in France.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the French Institute of Islamic Civilization in Lyon, Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa stressed the importance of dialogue and cultural exchange in breaking down barriers and fighting extremism.

The MWL’s secretary-general said highlighting and working on shared values was vital in strengthening links of human brotherhood to reduce negative gaps between peoples and nations.

“With the civilized transcendence of Islam, there is a need to respect the constitutions and regulations of the countries in which we reside,” said Al-Issa.

He appealed for tolerance, positive coexistence and the building of bridges of friendship between people and warned of the dangers of political groups that used religion as a cover to achieve authoritarian goals, especially through the use of disinformation to recruit young people.

“These groups seek to use Islam, symbol of mercy, morals, peace, values and civilizational principles in their highest form, to achieve their political ambitions and narrow views, loaded with violent extremism or terrorism,” he added.

Al-Issa pointed out that Islam respected human rights and freedoms within the framework of its legislation.

Also in attendance at the opening ceremony was French Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner who thanked Al-Issa for his comments and description of France as a country that promoted integration, stability and mutual respect.

The minister said that the institute represented a challenge to understanding and respect and reflected an accurate vision of Islam as a religion that accepted other cultures and supported dialogue and tolerance.

He also expressed pride at the strong lines of communication between Muslims and the French government and said the city of Lyon was a symbol of dialogue in the country.

Later, Al-Issa, Castaner and the Mayor of Lyon Gerard Collomb toured the institute which is equipped with the latest technology. It consists of five floors and a large conference hall and will offer courses in Islamic civilization in various languages, including Arabic and French. Collomb said the institute would help to educate non-Muslims about Islamic cultural heritage.

The MWL partnered with the French government to help establish the new institute in Lyon.

Earlier, Al-Issa met with the president of the Institute of Islamic Civilization, Kamel Kabtan, and discussed ways to promote a culture of tolerance and dialogue, and combat hatred and violence.


Saudi Arabia condemns attack on church in Burkina Faso

Updated 20 February 2020

Saudi Arabia condemns attack on church in Burkina Faso

  • Gunmen killed 24 people, including a church pastor, and kidnapped three others in the attack in Dori
  • More than 1,300 civilians were killed in attacks last year in Burkina Faso, more than seven times the previous year

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has condemned a terror attack on a church in northeast Burkina Faso in which 24 people were killed and three kidnapped.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the Kingdom’s condolences to families of the victims, and the government and people of Burkina Faso, and reiterated its rejection of violence, terrorism and extremism.

On Sunday, gunmen killed 24 people, including a church pastor, and kidnapped three others in Burkina Faso. It was the latest attack against a religious leader in the increasingly unstable West African nation. Sihanri Osangola Brigadie, mayor of Boundore commune, said the attack occurred in the town of Pansi in Yagha province. 

About 20 attackers separated men from women outside a Protestant church. At least 18 people were injured.

“It hurt me when I saw the people,” Brigadie said after visiting some victims in a hospital in Dori town, 180 km from the attack.

Both Christians and Muslims were killed before the church was set on fire, a government security official said. Attacks have targeted religious leaders in the area in the past. 

Last week a retired pastor was killed and another abducted by gunmen, according to an internal security report for aid workers.

More than 1,300 civilians were killed in attacks last year in Burkina Faso, more than seven times the previous year, according to Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, which collects and analyzes conflict information.

The insecurity has created a humanitarian crisis. More than 760,000 people have been forced from their homes in the country, according to the government.