Muslim World League secretary-general honored for interfaith work

Muslim World League secretary-general honored for interfaith work
Secretary General of the Muslim World League Mohammad Abdulkarim al-Issa gives a speech during a visit to the Nozyk Synagogue on January 24, 2020 in Warsaw. (AFP)
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Updated 13 June 2020

Muslim World League secretary-general honored for interfaith work

Muslim World League secretary-general honored for interfaith work
  • US officials, American Jewish leaders award Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa for combatting anti-Semitism
  • He vowed that the MWL would “keep on until there is no more antisemitism and racism”

NEW YORK: Former Saudi Minister of Justice Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa was awarded the first ever Combat Anti-Semitism Award for his work in the interfaith community and his fight against anti-Semitism and religious intolerance.

The virtual ceremony on June 9 was co-hosted by the Combat Anti-Semitism movement and the American Sephardi Federation. Senior US diplomats, UN officials and leaders of the American Jewish community all hailed the interfaith work of Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL).

Al-Issa has been the MWL secretary-general since 2016 and has forged several alliances with Jewish, Christian and other religious committees across the world.

He recently led a high-level delegation to Auschwitz in January of this year and announced several historic initiatives to counter extremism, guarantee religious freedom and improve human welfare, spreading the virtues of inter-religious understanding. He has been described by the US Department of State and other major international agencies as one of the foremost proponents of moderate Islam in the world today.

US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr thanked Al-Issa for his “remarkable vision and his commitment to turning over a new chapter and building a new future for the sake of not only Jewish and Christian children, but for the sake of all the children of the world.”

Those sentiments were echoed by US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, who called Al-Issa a “leader of the future.” Brownback said he would continue working with Al-Issa to “overcome the forces of hatred and evil.”

In his speech, Al-Issa spoke of the importance of Jewish, Muslim and other religious groups to work together to combat hatred in all its forms. He stressed that adherents of all faiths face a common enemy in the extremists who wish to drive their communities apart.

“Since taking over the Muslim World League, it has been my mission to fight the forces of hatred and violence,” Al-Issa said. “We have carefully implemented a holistic, multi-pronged approach that has included tolerance-building programs in education around the world, and counter-extremism monitoring and counteraction grounded in the true, moderate doctrine of Islam. And we have dramatically increased outreach to all of Allah’s children — Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and others. For our battle against intolerance and division is the same.”

Al-Issa said partnerships are more important than ever to defeat common enemies, from terrorism to global pandemics.

“Islam prophesizes peace between all peoples. Only through respect and tolerance for others can this be achieved. The alternative is ceaseless, violent conflict,” Al-Issa said. “Our faith is committed to tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and respect for the dignity of all mankind. We share a responsibility to confront all those who would promote division. Armed with the truth, we will fight the scourge of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all hatred.”


Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details. (shutterstock)
Updated 18 January 2021

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
  • The Saudi Central Bank has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers

JEDDAH: Fraudsters have developed a new scam, contacting residents in Saudi Arabia and pretending to be bank staffers requesting customer details.
A number of Arab News staff have received such calls in recent weeks. One caller spoke Urdu while two other callers posing as senior officials from the headquarters of the bank spoke in English and Arabic with a local accent.
They used phone numbers that appeared to be local numbers but upon calling back, the lines failed to connect.
The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.
Speaking to Arab News, Talat Zaki Hafiz, secretary-general of the Media and Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi banks, said: “Saudi banks represented by the Media and Banking Awareness Committee have repeatedly warned bank customers not to react to stray phone calls of any kind coming from unknown sources that ask to update their banking record or personal information.” He further confirmed that banks do not request such information through phone calls or SMS messages.
Mohammed Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at the King Saud University in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Phishing, an online scam which targets users through emails where individuals are encouraged to click on a link that takes them to fraudulent sites, was troubling people. Now it’s a different kind of scam known as ‘vishing,’ over-the-phone phishing, where scammers persuade users to share their banking information by impersonating a bank official.”

HIGHLIGHT

The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.

Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details.
Sharing his experience Zafar Hasan, an e-learning consultant in Riyadh, said: “I received a call from someone on an unknown mobile number who introduced himself as a bank employee and told me that my ATM card was going to be blocked. It required an immediate update so I should give my Iqama number (residence permit number) and sixteen-digit ATM card number. I felt something was fishy, so I told him that I would go personally to the bank to update the card.”
The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers.
SAMA called on bank customers to take information only from the official channels of the bodies regulating the Kingdom’s financial and investment sectors and inform the competent security authorities about such fraudulent attempts.