How Gulf Arab states are getting to grips with the energy transition challenge

Special Gulf Arab countries are seeking a model that balances environmental protection with long-term quality of life. (AFP)
Gulf Arab countries are seeking a model that balances environmental protection with long-term quality of life. (AFP)
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Updated 19 August 2022

How Gulf Arab states are getting to grips with the energy transition challenge

Gulf Arab countries are seeking a model that balances environmental protection with long-term quality of life. (AFP)
  • In the past year, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have made notable progress in renewable solar, wind and hydrogen power
  • Gulf countries can ensure both a thriving economy and an environment that supports a high quality of life

DUBAI: Even before the Ukraine war began, one thing became clear quickly — that demand for conventional energy was not going away. Now, with Brent crude hovering around $107 per barrel and natural gas costing $6.95 per MMBtu amid heightened risks of supply disruptions, the impending fiscal windfall gives the Gulf Arab states extra resources to accelerate their transformation into “green economies.”

From ambitious “circular carbon economy” and net-zero emission pledges to investments in renewables and electric vehicle production, the past year has already witnessed the launch of numerous initiatives by these energy-exporting countries in response to calls for accelerated action for combating climate change.

At the same time, the Gulf region has made notable progress in the development of utility-scale solar and wind power, including phase three of the Mohammed bin Rashid solar project in Dubai completed last year and the inauguration of Saudi Arabia’s first wind farm at Dumat Al-Jandal.

“These are breakthrough moments which build momentum through knowledge and experience,” Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, better known as IRENA, told Arab News.

“These low-cost renewables projects also open the door to the production of cost-competitive green hydrogen. We believe hydrogen will have a pivotal role to play in the decarbonization of the energy system.”

IRENA’s “World Energy Transitions Outlook” shows hydrogen could account for 12 percent of total final energy consumption globally by the middle of the century, up from today’s marginal levels.

“There are already clear signals of intent from the region to capture these market opportunities, which may prove to be a new and important aspect of the transition that the region can apply its hydrocarbon expertise and experience to,” La Camera said.

In the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, in Glasgow last November, the UAE pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and to invest up to $160 billion in clean and renewable energy solutions.

The previous month, Saudi Arabia launched the Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives, committing the Kingdom to reach net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2060 and to plant 10 billion trees over the coming decades, rehabilitate 8 million hectares of degraded land, and allocate new protected areas.

More recently, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company announced they would join the UAE’s state-owned holding company Mubadala as shareholders in the clean-energy company Masdar.

The Gulf enjoys an ideal climate for solar power expansion. (Shutterstock)

The partnership is designed to increase Masdar’s renewable energy capacity to 50 gigawatts by 2030 and to create a global clean energy powerhouse, with a focus on areas such as green hydrogen and renewables.

Similar developments are taking place in Saudi Arabia, including several projects in NEOM — the Kingdom’s smart city on the Red Sea coast — most notably the launch of Oxagon, the world’s largest floating industrial complex.

“The Oxagon project is a revolutionary idea looking at reshaping the way industries work at the gateway of the most popular shipping channel in the world, powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and requiring extensive levels of symbiosis between various industries,” Daniel Gribbin, corporate sustainability lead at WSP Middle East, told Arab News.

“The region’s drive to a more sustainable future is no secret. Levels of transparency and individual consumer behaviors, along with the vision of regional leaders, have accelerated the need to respond and act, so that they can have a seat at the global table.

“Demand for sustainability considerations from international investors has also been a propelling force for raising ESG awareness in the regional market, contributing toward valuation and reputation.”

A view of Jubail Desalination Plant at the Jubail Industrial City, about 95 kilometers north of Dammam in Saudi Arabia's eastern province. (AFP/File Photo)

The past year has witnessed a sea change in the regional approach to climate action, according to Nawal Al-Hosany, the UAE’s permanent representative to IRENA.

At COP26, for instance, the UAE announced a number of landmark pledges and partnerships to raise ambitions, including the UAE-IRENA Energy Transition Accelerator Financing platform, which aims to raise $1 billion to accelerate renewable-energy transition in developing countries.

The UAE, through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, has already pledged $400 million in anchor funding to the platform.

“We also announced the Hydrogen Leadership Roadmap, which seeks to establish the country as a competitive global hydrogen exporter,” Al-Hosany told Arab News.

“Looking ahead to COP27 in Egypt, and COP28 in the UAE in 2023, the impetus for climate action will continue to create a ripple effect across the Middle East.”


* $120 Projected oil price per barrel if Russian oil flow is disrupted.

* $6.95 Current natural gas price per MMBtu.

La Camera describes the energy transition as an unstoppable megatrend, underpinned by innovation and motivated by the pursuit of long-term prosperity and climate action.

“GCC countries recognize this opportunity and are acting accordingly,” he told Arab News.

“It is also important to recognize that the Gulf region is positioning itself as a serious player in the global energy transition because its leaders understand their hydrocarbon resource wealth and vast clean energy potential presents them with an opportunity to build a resilient economy around knowledge, clean technologies and long-term energy leadership.”

Al-Hosany thinks hydrocarbons will continue to play an integral role in the energy system for decades to come, as managing an equitable and inclusive energy transition will be critical to turning the tide of climate change.

“We must rethink the balancing act of economic growth and sustainable development,” she said.

A Saudi employee fills the tank of his car with petrol at a station in Jeddah. (AFP/File Photo)

“But this transition will not happen overnight. We must shift toward an energy mix that involves renewable and clean energy sources. Though we must move toward the energy system of tomorrow, we cannot simply unplug from the energy system of today. It is not as simple as flicking a switch.”

From desertification to droughts, the Middle East is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. And although every country has its own unique reasons to transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewables, the Gulf region has a lot to gain from the transition, according to La Camera, even if there are uncertainties about the long-term future of hydrocarbon exports.

“Exploiting its vast clean energy resources offers diversified growth and the creation of new jobs well into the 21st century,” he said. “Additionally, let us not forget the perilous situation this region may find itself in should global temperatures continue to rise unabated.”

La Camera said that the climate crisis “is likely to send regional average temperatures to around double the global average this century while increasing pressure on already scarce water supplies. This is a profound and very real threat that the region cannot solve alone, but it must be part of the solution.”

Gribbin believes there is no “silver bullet” to the challenge facing humanity. As such, policymakers, companies and individuals must work together to find shared solutions.

“Investment in the solutions to the challenges we face with climate change is not only good for humanity but is also smart business,” he said.

“Individual drivers and consumer behavior have changed, and the demand for ‘green’ and sustainable products is only going to increase. As a region that is extremely reliant on imports, particularly for food, and that has contributed to the proliferation of hydrocarbons, early investment is key in ensuring that we are part of the solution.”

By acting now, Gribbin said, the region will ensure it has both a thriving economy and an environment that can support a high quality of life for generations to come.

The invasion of Ukraine has the potential to accelerate the global trend toward renewables, with Europe expected to drastically reduce its reliance on Russian natural-gas supplies. If Gulf countries use their fiscal surpluses to fast-track the development of renewable-energy, hydrogen, ammonia-export and carbon-capture projects, they will emerge well prepared for the post-oil age.


Twitter: @CalineMalek

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Israel strikes Gaza after rocket fired from enclave

Israel strikes Gaza after rocket fired from enclave
Updated 04 December 2022

Israel strikes Gaza after rocket fired from enclave

Israel strikes Gaza after rocket fired from enclave
  • United Nations Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland said he was “horrified” by the killing “during a scuffle with an Israeli soldier”

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: The Israeli air force said it had carried out overnight air strikes against sites of the Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip after a rocket was fired from the Palestinian enclave toward Israeli territory.
The Israeli army reported on Saturday evening a rocket had been fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, the first in a month.
The attack came as one of Gaza’s larger armed factions, Islamic Jihad, threatened to retaliate after Israeli troops killed two of its leaders in the West Bank town of Jenin on Thursday.
“In response to the rocket fired toward Israeli territory, IDF fighter jets targeted overnight (Sunday) a weapons manufacturing site belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization,” the Israeli army said in a statement.
The target was a site “where the majority of the organization’s rockets in the Gaza Strip are being manufactured,” it said.
Israel Defense Forces also hit “a Hamas terrorist tunnel in the Southern Gaza Strip,” it said.
The army said a few hours later it had targeted a Hamas military post in response to fire from the Gaza Strip against Israeli warplanes.
The armed wing of Hamas said it used anti-aircraft missiles during Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.
Security sources in Gaza reported two strikes in the south of the enclave, one against a military training site in Khan Younis and the other in an uninhabited area close to Rafah.
The strikes caused no injuries, according to Palestinian medical sources.
“The Zionist enemy is extending its aggression against our people by brutally bombarding the Gaza Strip, following its crime yesterday of executing the martyr Ammar Mufleh in Huwara,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said.
A surge in bloodshed in the occupied West Bank has sparked international criticism of the Israeli army for its use of lethal force against Palestinian civilians.
Criticism has focused on the killing of Ammar Hadi Mufleh, 22, in disputed circumstances in the West Bank town of Huwara, just south of Nablus, on Friday.
At least 145 Palestinians and 26 Israelis have been killed in violence in Israel and the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, this year, the heaviest toll since 2015.
In August, at least 49 Palestinians, including combatants but also civilians, were killed in three days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2007.


Football World Cup matches in Qatar find Arab diaspora in Latin American torn by split loyalties

Football World Cup matches in Qatar find Arab diaspora in Latin American torn by split loyalties
Updated 54 min 40 sec ago

Football World Cup matches in Qatar find Arab diaspora in Latin American torn by split loyalties

Football World Cup matches in Qatar find Arab diaspora in Latin American torn by split loyalties
  • Descendants of Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese immigrants look with pride at the national squads of the Arab world
  • Although many support their home side, fans have keenly followed matches of Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco and Qatar

SAO PAULO: The World Cup is a big deal in Latin America, with cities across Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and elsewhere brought to a standstill whenever their respective national teams are on the pitch. But for one segment of society in particular, the 2022 tournament hosted by Qatar is particularly significant.

Arab Latin Americans are thought to number about 23 million people. There are large communities in Brazil and Argentina, and significant populations in Mexico, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia, made up of descendants of Arab emigrants who came over from the Middle East and North Africa, voluntarily or as refugees. And, like everybody else in these countries, Arabs love football.

The fact the 2022 World Cup is taking place in an Arab country for the first time provides an even greater incentive for the Arab diaspora in Latin America to tune in from distant time zones. The only question is whether to support the Arab side that reflects their ethnic origins, or the teams of their adopted countries.

Qatar’s hosting of the competition “certainly generates sympathy among Arab communities; people have been waiting for that World Cup for a long time,” Agustin Dib, director of the Arab Culture Club in Buenos Aires, told Arab News.

According to him, however, most Arab Latin Americans tend to root for the team that represents their adopted home.

“In Argentina, the first Lebanese and Syrian immigrants began to arrive at the end of the 19th century,” said Dib. “The same happened in Brazil. So, we are fully Argentinian, Brazilian, and so on — and love our national teams.”

At the same time, though, Arab Latin Americans watch with pride national squads from the Arab world and eagerly follow the fortunes of the likes of Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Qatar. The Saudi team’s historic 2-1 victory against Argentina in their opening match in Qatar no doubt captured the imagination of many.

There are large Arab communities in the border zones between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. In these areas, a World Cup campaign can temporarily divide Arab groups.

Saleh Al-Shehri celebrates with Saudi Arabia's forward #09 Firas Al-Buraikan after scoring his team's first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium. (AFP)

This is certainly the case in the bisected Brazilian city of Chui and its Uruguayan counterpart, Chuy, where several thousand Palestinians have settled. Most of the time, this community pays little heed to the geographical boundary separating them. But a World Cup can change this.

“In general, we cheer for both Uruguay and Brazil,” Jaber Nassar, a 43-year-old shop owner who lives on the Brazilian side of the city, told Arab News. “But if there is a match between both teams, each side will root for its national squad.”

The rest of the time, though, there has traditionally been a historic bond between both communities when it comes to football. In 1987, they founded the Central Palestino Futbol Club. Active for a little more than a decade before folding as a result of lack of funds, Central Palestino was part of the Uruguayan league and made waves in the 1990s when it reached the finals of a national championship.

“I used to see many matches with my mother when I was a boy. Central Palestino was a local champion and we would travel throughout Uruguay to see them play,” said Nassar, whose brother-in-law was part of the squad for several years.

The Palestinian community routinely turns out in force to watch as many matches as possible during a World Cup, said Nassar. A few of his friends even traveled to Qatar for the tournament.

“Of course, we will focus on the Arab teams,” he added.

Nassar said the Palestinians love of South American football is not only a byproduct of immigration. Even in Palestine, he said, many people cheer for Brazil during international tournaments.


* The Arab diaspora in Central and South America is thought to number about 23 million people.

* The biggest Arab communities are in Brazil and Argentina, followed by Mexico, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia.

According to Dib, this is common in many Arab nations and reflects a recognition of, and appreciation for, the prowess of top South American players.

“In countries like Syria and Lebanon, people love Argentinian and Brazilian football,” he said. “I lived for a few months in Tunisia and people would always ask me about Maradona and Messi.”

Zuka Khouri, who left Syria as a refugee and settled in the Brazilian city of Curitiba nine years ago, said her family cheers for the Brazilian national team during every World Cup.

“We also liked to see Italy play,” she told Arab News. “This year Italy is not in the competition so we are rooting for Brazil.”

Anas Obaid, a 34-year-old Syrian refugee, was captured and held hostage by an armed group in Syria until his family paid a ransom. After his release, he fled to Lebanon where he worked in a refugee camp in Zahle. He has lived in Brazil since 2015 and is now a journalist and human rights activist. He loves football and said he used to cheer for Argentina when he was a child.

“I was there during the 2014 World Cup, which took place in Brazil,” Obaid told Arab News. “I rooted for Germany, because the country was welcoming many Syrian refugees. But some in the camp rooted for Brazil.”

Since arriving in Sao Paulo, he said has become an ardent supporter of the Brazilian national team. “Brazilians have a passion for football and it is an honor to root for their squad,” he said.

Although football is unequivocally a national obsession in Brazil, and the World Cup a major event for the people there, the number of Brazilian fans who bought tickets for matches in Qatar, 39,546, is significantly lower than the numbers of Argentines (61,083) and Mexicans (91,173).

Mexico regularly sends a large contingent of fans to World Cups. Most Arab Mexicans are of Lebanese origin, according to Hector Chamlati, a member of the consulting board of Centro Libanes, a community association in Mexico City. The number of Lebanese Mexicans is estimated at about 500,000, most of whom are Christians.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives thumbs-up during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Switzerland at Stadium 974 in Doha. (AFP)

“We have a very strong connection with the Mexican national team,” Chamlati told Arab News. “But it pleases many of us to see Arab teams play. I was glad to see that Tunisia managed to draw with Denmark (on Nov. 22).”

The grandson of Lebanese immigrants, he said the Mexican community feels an intense connection to Lebanon and if the country’s national team was competing in Qatar, many of them would certainly root for them.

“But I think it is special to see the potential success of any Arab squad,” he added.

Jose Alejandro Serio Haddad, a 25-year old Lebanese Mexican, traveled to Qatar with his friends to watch Mexico play. It was his first visit to an Arab country and proved to be something of a culture shock.

“I think Qatari and Lebanese culture are very different,” he told Arab News. “Besides, the number of Arabs here is not very high. Most of the time we meet with South Asians. We feel like foreigners all the time.”

Serio Haddad was not confident about the chances of any Arab teams progressing from the group phase to the final stages of the tournament “but we certainly feel more empathy with them than with Latin American teams, like Argentina, for instance.”

As for the fact that the World Cup is being hosted by a Muslim country for the first time, Obaid said that this was certainly noteworthy but he was unhappy with the amount of criticism that has been leveled against Qatar.

“I am concerned by the international community’s reaction,” he said. “It can be a way of fighting prejudices over Muslims and Arabs. But at the same time people are paying much more attention to Qatar’s social contradictions than they did when the (competition) happened in non-Muslim countries.”

Dib said he has been organizing talks to discuss the common distortions in the way Western countries perceive the World Cup in Qatar.

“Since the first World Cup, in Uruguay in 1930, there have been corruption scandals, for instance,” he said. “But the media now focuses almost exclusively on Qatar’s problems. It is a matter of prejudice.”

In any other context, Dib said, the global press would have talked about the construction marvels achieved by the hosting country “but given that it is an Arab nation, it only talks about the deaths that occurred during construction.”

He added: “I am not saying those problems are not important but the exclusive focus on them is a problem. It has to do with Orientalism as defined by Edward Said.”

In his 1978 book, “Orientalism,” Said established the term as a critical concept to describe the often contemptuous Western depiction of the East.

Dib said that many Arab Latin Americans are not comfortable with what many perceive as biased coverage of Qatar — which has been echoed in the Latin American media as well — because they feel that “there is an ongoing attack on Arab culture as a whole.”

Macron urged to oppose Israeli deportation of French Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri 

Macron urged to oppose Israeli deportation of French Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri 
Updated 03 December 2022

Macron urged to oppose Israeli deportation of French Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri 

Macron urged to oppose Israeli deportation of French Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri 
  • French citizen Hamouri, who has been held since March in administrative detention, faces deportation as early as Sunday

LONDON: Several charitable organizations and activist groups have called on French President Emmanuel Macron to act immediately against the expulsion of French Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri by Israeli authorities.

Israel on Thursday announced it had stripped Hamouri of his Jerusalem residency and planned to deport him to France, saying he was an “activist in a banned militant group.”

French citizen Hamouri, who has been held since March in administrative detention — a tool that allows Israeli authorities to hold suspects without charge for months on end — faces deportation as early as Sunday despite being a life-long resident of Jerusalem.

His charge, as announced by the Israeli Ministry of Interior, is a “failure of allegiance” toward the state of Israel, first confirmed on June 29 last year. He has not been convicted in the proceedings.

Israel claims that Hamouri is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group that is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the US.

He is a lawyer for Adameer, a rights group that assists Palestinian prisoners that Israel has banned for alleged ties to the PFLP, and previously spent seven years in prison after being convicted in an alleged plot to kill a prominent rabbi, but was released in a 2011 prisoner swap with Hamas.

Human Rights Watch, ACAT-France, Amnesty International France, the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders are appealing to Macron to immediately call on the Israeli authorities to release Hamouri.

They said the decision set a dangerous precedent for Palestinian human rights defenders and advocates in Jerusalem, who could be systematically targeted on this basis.

Attorney for human rights activist group HaMoked, Dani Shenhar, called the stripping of his residency a “drastic measure that violates a person's basic right to live in their homeland.”

She continued: “As a member of the indigenous population of Jerusalem, Hamouri owes no allegiance to the state of Israel, the fact that this decision was made largely on the basis of secret evidence only exacerbates the injustice.”

Israel’s Supreme Court this week cleared the way for the deportation after rejecting an appeal from HaMoked.

Mikati faces row over Lebanese Cabinet meeting on Monday

Mikati faces row over Lebanese Cabinet meeting on Monday
Updated 03 December 2022

Mikati faces row over Lebanese Cabinet meeting on Monday

Mikati faces row over Lebanese Cabinet meeting on Monday
  • Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi criticizes inability of parliament to elect president after 8 sessions

BEIRUT: Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati has called for a Cabinet meeting on Monday to deal with urgent matters in the country.

He announced the move during a speech at the inauguration of the International Arab Book Fair in Beirut.

The move has outraged Christian blocs in the Lebanese ruling class which consider it an unconstitutional step and an attempt to bypass the priority of electing a new president.

Some eight electoral sessions have failed to procure a new president and the leadership vacuum has entered a second month.

Mikati confirmed that he had called the Cabinet to convene to try and tackle problems which, he said, were deemed important by ministers.

An agenda comprising 65 items has been issued, although Mikati pledged in a parliamentary session held about a month ago not to call a Cabinet session amid the presidential vacuum, unless everyone agreed to the move.

The decision raised concerns among members of the Free Patriotic Movement. The party denounced the invitation, fearing that the resigned government will carry out prerogatives reserved for the president.

In an attempt to reassure those who are skeptical, Mikati said more than 40 items could be excluded from the agenda.

He said: “We will only approve the matters that are deemed important and urgent by ministers.

“It disappoints me when some people consider the meeting a sectarian move or an attempt that targets a specific group.

“Do we discriminate when we provide assistance? What is being said is unacceptable.”

Mikati added: “There’s a file related to cancer and dialysis patients that should be approved.

“What our Cabinet does is perform governmental duties to serve the citizens. Whoever has an alternative can propose it.”

Mikati said he hoped no one would boycott the meeting as ministers had a sense of patriotism. He added he was hopeful of a broad participation on Monday.

He also called on those responsible to accelerate the process of electing a president.

He said: “What is required first and foremost is the political will of the various political forces and blocs to complete the convening of constitutional institutions by electing a new president as soon as possible.”

He added that the adoption of reform laws must take place before the final agreement with the International Monetary Fund, in order to secure the opportunity for the promised economic recovery.

The urgent item that prompted Mikati to call the Cabinet session is related to the settlement of amounts due to hospitals.

It includes the approval of a request to cover the purchase of medicines for incurable and cancerous diseases using $35 million from the Central Bank over three months.

Ministers from the FPM announced that they will boycott Monday’s session.

However, it has been reported that Mikati’s move received the support of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, despite the strong alliance between Hezbollah and the FPM.

The Syndicate of Hospitals in Lebanon said that using people’s health for political sparring was unacceptable.

It said patients were not responsible for the presidential vacuum, nor for the governmental status and the prerogatives of the caretaker Cabinet.

It has been reported that Foreign Affairs Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, Tourism Minister Walid Nassar, Justice Minister Henri Khoury, Social Affairs Minister Hector Hajjar, Energy Minister Walid Fayad and Defense Minister Maurice Slim will not attend Monday’s meeting.

However, despite the boycott, the quorum will still be met, as two-thirds of the members and Christian ministers from other blocs will attend it.

Meanwhile, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi has criticized the inability of parliament to elect a president after eight electoral sessions.

He described the unsuccessful parliamentary sessions as “comical.”

Addressing the deputies of Hezbollah and the FPM, who keep casting blank votes, he added: “Why don’t you announce your candidate’s name?

“Why would you secure the quorum in the first round, then leave in the second round? Isn’t this disrespectful to the Lebanese people and the presidency?

“Why do you act like this when it comes to the Maronite Christian president, while you elect the parliamentary speaker in one session and the prime minister is designated immediately following parliamentary consultations?

“It is as if you are saying that you can do without a president. If you were keen on respecting the national pact, how is the Christian element represented when you keep missing the chance to elect a president?”


Push to nominate Egyptian sheikh for Nobel Peace Prize

Sheikh Ahmed Karima. (Wikipedia)
Sheikh Ahmed Karima. (Wikipedia)
Updated 03 December 2022

Push to nominate Egyptian sheikh for Nobel Peace Prize

Sheikh Ahmed Karima. (Wikipedia)
  • Karima said he is one of the pioneers in supporting the rapprochement between religious sects, and highlighted his efforts in confronting terrorism since 1996, saying he had published books citicial of the Muslim Brotherhood and Daesh

CAIRO: Sheikh Ahmed Karima, a professor of comparative jurisprudence and Islamic law at Al-Azhar University, has confirmed that there are efforts and moves by some personalities outside Egypt to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

A number of those close to him are making efforts to support his nomination .

The professor told Arab News that the moves “come as a result of my efforts to bring together the Sunni, Shiite and Ibadi Islamic sects, as well as the societal initiatives that I have participated in launching over the past years.”

Karima said he is one of the pioneers in supporting the rapprochement between religious sects, and highlighted his efforts in confronting terrorism since 1996, saying he had published books citicial of the Muslim Brotherhood and Daesh.

“I also have a charitable foundation in the Haram area, and I call for stopping behavioral violence and consolidating and supporting world peace. These are activities that I have been working on for a very long time,” Karima added.

He told Arab News that the proposal that he adopted would also be based on the establishment of the Egyptian Center for World Peace, a specialized non-profit research center concerned with correcting misconceptions attributed to religious issues for the public benefit.

The center challenges false inferences, false citations, and remedies for the principles and agendas of intellectual and behavioral violence, Karima told Arab News.

He suggested that the center be affiliated with the presidency of Egypt, the presidency of the Egyptian Cabinet, and the Foundation for Harmony among people.

Karima said he was working “to spread the culture of environmental protection, in international conferences and scientific publications, including legal measures to protect the environment, in addition to sermons and seminars in mosques and cultural palaces and youth centers.”

He concluded his remarks by saying: “I wish I would win the Nobel Peace Prize, and if I win it, I will dedicate it to Al-Azhar Al-Sharif.

“I was also surprised by negative propaganda campaigns by European institutions and personalities against my candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize.”