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.”


Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival
Located between Al-Ammariyah and Diriyah, the stunning desert area just outside of Riyadh city will combine modern luxury with oasis scenery. (Supplied)
Updated 17 January 2021

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival

Riyadh Oasis opens its doors for winter leisure festival
  • Saudi capital’s latest desert attraction features live entertainment, shopping and international fine dining

RIYADH: The highly anticipated Riyadh Oasis will begin serving customers from Sunday until April 12.
The event, sponsored by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and the International Company for Organizing Events and Activities, in cooperation with Seven Experience and Rotana audio and video company, is a luxury entertainment project in the Kingdom’s desert interior.


Saudi Royal Court Adviser and Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority Turki Alalshikh took to Twitter to announce the date of inauguration, telling followers that “our rendezvous will be on Sunday, God willing, out of your wildest imagination!”

Described as “a tailor-made 5-star winter sanctuary at the heart of Riyadh’s beautiful golden desert landscapes,” Riyadh Oasis will offer an entertainment experience where visitors will be able to explore, eat, play, celebrate and camp out with friends and family.

Located between Al-Ammariyah and Diriyah, the stunning desert area just outside of Riyadh city will combine modern luxury with oasis scenery.
The oasis will provide Saudis with the chance to experience the country’s rich culture, live entertainment and fine dining, along with multinational cultural music and live performances.

Also featured is a shopping area with brands such as perfumery Tolat Etr, luxury jewelers Cardial, and local home and retail store Papillon.
The oasis also offers accommodation in the form of “glamps” — “glamorous camps.” Able to hold up to eight people, these strikingly decorated, tastefully modern areas include living rooms, dining areas and luxury bathrooms. While overnight stays are not possible at the glamps, the oasis is open between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekdays, and 1 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekends.
A selection of award-winning international cuisines will be on offer, with pop-ups of famous international outifts such as Japanese restaurant Zuma, Latin American fusion restaurant Amazonico, Emirati Arabic restaurant Ninive, and Greek seafood restaurant Nammos.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The oasis offers accommodation in the form of ‘glamps’ — ‘glamorous camps.’ Able to hold up to eight people, these strikingly decorated, tastefully modern areas include living rooms, dining areas and luxury bathrooms. While overnight stays are not possible at the glamps, the oasis is open between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekdays, and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends.

• People can book tickets for the restaurants and the glamps using The Chefz app. Restaurant reservations cost between SR500 ($130) and SR860, while a reservation for one of the Glamps will be about SR13,000.

People can book tickets for the restaurants and the glamps using The Chefz app. Restaurant reservations cost between SR500 ($130) and SR860, while a reservation for one of the Glamps will be about SR13,000.
Maha Abdulmajeed, a Riyadh resident, told Arab News that she had booked a reservation for Zuma “almost immediately” when news broke of its opening.
“I’m a big fan of Zuma; I’ve been to both their Dubai and New York locations. I’m very excited to visit the pop-up, especially with COVID-19 affecting my ability to travel,” she said.
“I’ve been to several other pop-ups that came to Saudi during Riyadh Season and Jeddah Season, such as Nusr-Et and Coya, so I have no doubt that the Riyadh Oasis pop-ups will be just as well-done and enjoyable,” she said.
Sarah Alghamdi, who plans to travel to Riyadh from her hometown of Alkhobar, told Arab News that she would be making a reservation for at least one of the restaurants.
“I haven’t had the chance to visit any of the permanent locations yet, so I’m not sure which one to try, but I would love to be able to visit at least one of them,” she said.
Alghamdi said that she appreciated the efforts that the Kingdom was making to keep citizens entertained and happy while international travel was not possible.
“My family is in the habit of traveling abroad every year around this time, and since we were unable to do so this year, it kind of bummed us all out. It’s great that we still have the opportunity to travel and experience new things even if we can’t go abroad. It’s also really made me appreciative of domestic travel. It’s very easy to assume that there’s nothing to do at home and that international destinations are the only ones that can hold any appeal,” she said.