Italian Minister of Interior Affairs Receives MWL Sec-Gen

During the meeting between Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti received Secretary-General Sheikh Mohammed Issa (MWL Website)

Rome– Muslim World League (MWL) aims to pursue positive integration of Muslim communities into their societies and the citizenship they have recognized and committed to, according to MWL Sec-Gen Sheikh Mohammed al-Issa.

Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti received Secretary-General Issa and his accompanying delegation in Rome on Tuesday.

The two officials discussed a number of topics of common interest including citizenship and positive integration with the promotion of the right of religious freedom guaranteed by law. They also addressed the issue of official recognition of Islam as a religion.

The Italian minister welcomed MWL chief and expressed appreciation for the role undertaken by the MWL in fighting extremism, unifying Muslim communities, and promoting moderation.

Minniti expressed hope that the visit of the MWL chief to Italy will achieve goals that serve humanity, especially after his historic meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican City.

For his part, Issa thanked the Italian minister for his concern over MWL’s role and stressed that the League is keen to spread the values of peace, tolerance, and coexistence.

Later, Sec-Gen Issa held a meeting with Director of Religious Affairs in the Italian Government Maria Yurato where the two discussed several issues of mutual concern.

The two sides also discussed the legal status of several Islamic activities in Italy, and the cooperation between the association and the ministry to unify the Muslim community and improve its representation in the Italian government and civil institutions.

The secretary-general thanked Italian officials for providing the required facilities for a dialogue, hospitality and appreciation, especially in the light of the association’s renewed vision.

MWL Secretary General: No Religion Is Free from Extremist Elements

The Pontifical Council in the Vatican meets with MWL Secretary General Dr. Mohammed Al Issa on many issues and lauds the historical meeting with Pope Francis

Rome- Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary-General Mohammed Al-Issa said that while no religion promoted extremism, none was free from extremist elements.

Issa met on Monday with the head of the Pontifical Council of the Vatican, Cardinal Jean-Laurent Tauran, following a meeting earlier this month with Pope Francis.

He noted that the League “welcomes communication and cooperation with the Vatican through the Pontifical Council in all that achieves common goals, in particular, the deployment of peace and harmony.”

Cardinal Tauran, for his part, praised the meeting between Issa and Pope Francis, underlining its importance in opening a new page of friendship and cooperation between the Vatican and the Islamic world, in order to meet the challenges and dangers facing the world.

The MWL secretary general visited the headquarters of the Community of Sant’Egidio, the international Catholic organization based in Rome.

He noted that the MWL was fully ready to cooperate with the organization in all areas that serve cultural communication.

The Saudi Arabian government-supported NGO, MWL, was founded in 1962 to propagate Islam and to improve worldwide understanding of the religion.

Based in the Saudi city of Mecca, the MWL in its mission statement says it rejects violence and fosters “dialogue with people of other cultures.”

Pope Francis Receives MWL Chief

London- Pope Francis on Wednesday met with the Muslim World League’s Chief Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, the Vatican said in a statement, without elaborating on the content of the meeting.

The Muslim world appreciates Pope Francis’ stance on false claims linking Islam to extremism and violence, Al-Issa told the pope.

The two men exchanged views on a number of topics of mutual concern, notably cooperation between the Vatican and the Islamic world on issues concerning peace and coexistence.

Pope Francis had formerly said that violence is not directly related to Islam, and that no religion is free from having extremist followers.

After their meeting, the pope and Al-Issa exchanged gifts.

The MWL chief gave the pope a religious symbol representing Islamic civilization and its communication with other civilizations.

Pope Francis gave Al-Issa a memorial pen marking the 500th anniversary of St. Peter’s Basilica in 2006, and a medal commemorating his fifth year as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

During his visit, the MWL chief will meet senior figures from the Vatican administration and leading Italian officials, and will attend a number of religious and cultural functions in Rome.

The Saudi Arabian government-supported NGO, MWL, was founded in 1962 to propagate Islam and to improve worldwide understanding of the religion.

Headquartered in the Saudi city of Mecca, the MWL in its mission statement says it rejects violence and fosters “dialogue with people of other cultures.”

MWL Sec-Gen: Rohingya Crisis Is Terrorism

MWL’s Sec-Gen Mohammed al-Isa at the Conference on Civilization Interaction between US and Muslim World

New York – The Muslim World League (MWL) is prepared to send an official delegation to Myanmar to support Rohingya Muslim minorities who are being persecuted.

MWL’s Sec-Gen Mohammed al-Isa confirmed that the bloodshed in Myanmar was no less criminal than the terrorism of ISIS and other terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.

Speaking to Asharq al-Awsat on the sidelines of the Conference on Civilization Interaction between US and Muslim World in New York, Isa said that MWL has been working on two important aspects of the humanitarian situation in Myanmar. Firstly, the organization wanted to strongly condemn the brutal attacks, adding that MWL is an international, popular organization for all Muslim communities.

The MWL compared the terrorist massacres in Burma to crimes committed by ISIS and al-Qaeda, Isa said.

Secondly is providing humanitarian aid to Muslims including the refugees in Bangladesh and Thailand. He explained that the distribution will be done according to the legal procedures of each country. In addition, MWL is prepared to send an official delegation as soon the political situation and procedures allow.

The Sec-Gen pointed out that extremists use the Islamic religion to promote their ideologies, however, MWL held several conferences and seminars to show the real image of Islam. He explained that extremism and terrorism depend on promoting Islamophobia which may have affected moderate Islam.

Isa stated that extremism can only be defeated when seminars and conventions are met with actual movements that can be implemented in reality.

When asked about reaching out to other religions, Isa said that MWL cooperates with other religions such as Judaism and Christianity.

According to the Sec-Gen, the problem lies in ignoring the common between all religions. He reiterated that not everyone should follow the same sect or religion or even conviction and ideology. Isa said that the important issue is that everyone understand and respect all religions.

MWL called for immediate intervention and support for the Rohingya, at both local and international levels stating that global peace is at stake unless those involved in violence were held to account.

It urged the international community to take firm and effective action to end the massacres in Myanmar.

Conference on Civilization Interaction between US and Muslim World kicked off on Saturday with the participation of the UN, 450 scholars and thinkers representing 56 states as well as Islamic and US intellectual and cultural institutions.

The opening ceremony was attended by Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Mohammed al-Isa, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Yousef al-Othaimeen, President of Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque Affairs Sheik Abdulrahman al-Sudais and a number of senior personalities from the Muslim World.

The conference also discusses the civilization of Islam and its pioneering historical experience of global openness and of the cultural exchange concepts, said the Secretary-General in a statement.

MWL Congratulates Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Promotion to Crown Prince

The Muslim World League congratulated Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz as crown prince and Deputy Premier, the Saudi state-owned news agency said on Wednesday.

A royal decree issued earlier that day had announced Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s appointed as the country’s crown prince, replacing Prince Mohammed bin Naif.

The Secretary-General the organization, Member of the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul-Karim Al-Issa, said in a statement that King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s selection is a wise one.

They also wished Prince Mohammed all the best to achieve further progress and prosperity to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Arab and Islamic nations.

The decree, issued by King Salman, also appointed Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif as interior minister, a post concurrently held by the former crown prince.

The SPA report said Prince Mohammed was chosen as crown prince by 31 out of 34 members of the Allegiance Council during a meeting at Al-Safa Palace in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

The new crown prince has also served in a concurrent capacity as defense minister and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.

MWL Conference in London: Islamic Scripture Promotes Tolerance, Coexistence

London- Intellectuals, religious preachers and a number of politicians, who attended the “Tolerance in Islam” conference organized by the Muslim World League (MWL), requested exposing corrupt self-styled interpretations on the Al Wala’ Wal Bara'(loyalty and disavowal) creed.

Terrorist extremists have misinterpreted the widely-adopted rule, and exploited it for means of rallying support among Muslim communities.

The MWL organized the conference at London University, in the United Kingdom, on May 16– a number of Islamic leaders, thinkers and diplomats took part.

A concluding statement said Islamic scripture, and historical anecdotes retrieved from the Prophetic biography, show that practices upheld by extremist terrorists do not coincide with Islamic values.

Prophet Muhammad had throughout his journey preached about values such as honesty, tolerance, mercy, coexistence, righteousness and benevolence. Justice towards Muslims and non-Muslims is a notion anchored into Islam—extremists have encroached on Muslim values, and have adopted self-tailored beliefs.

The statement also called for spreading the culture of understanding at such desperate times, as well as promoting concepts of positive communication among followers of different religions in order to serve humanitarian work and preserve human dignity and rights.

All the more, the conference’s final statement recognized efforts spent by Muslims residing in the UK on promoting true Islamic beliefs and value system. Praising their cultural contributions and all-inclusive engagement with other members of society.

Condemning the phenomenon of Islamophobia, the conference denounces false principles promoted under lacking knowledge of true Islamic tradition and values. Islam’s reality is that it endorses civilizational creativity, calls for objectivity, and the elimination of prejudices. Islam must be recognized through its origins and principles, and not the actions of those following a self-styled religion.

The statement called on religious and educational institutions to promote a culture of cooperation and compassion, and to promote religious values that establish tolerance and coexistence.

Calling on Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries to exercise their right to religious expression in peaceful and legal means, and warning against being persuaded by those who preach hate, the conference demanded that Muslims remain committed to upholding local order in countries they reside in.

More so, all Muslims were warned of being persuaded into extremist ideology which would compromise their religious moderation and national awareness.

Addressing the conference’s audience, MWL Secretary General Sheikh Dr. Muhammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa stressed MWL keenness to promote the culture of peace and tolerance.

He also backed the usage of constructive dialogue based on understanding among various components and a moderate approach.

Issa pointed out that tolerance is one of the high values of Islam and that is confirmed by many texts of legitimacy as seen in the biography of the Prophet as it is at the forefront of Islamic moral values in all areas of life.

He also confirmed that Islamic high values conflict completely with extremism. This should clarify the clear difference between what the real tolerant Islam promotes as opposed to what extremism is adopting.

The conference called for the promotion of noble moral values, the need to cooperate in addressing ethical, environmental and family challenges and the promotion of cooperation for sustainable and mutually beneficial progress.

The participants and attending audiences praised the great efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Muslim World League spent on explaining and clarifying the reality of Islam to the world, and confronting extremist ideas.

MWL: Terrorism Exploits ‘Islamophobia’ to Spread Radicalism

South African President Jacob Zuma receives MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohamed Al-Essa in Johannesburg. Photo: Asharq Al-Awsat

Johannesburg- The Muslim World League (MWL) is working intensively to counter extremist ideology on a global level, with most of the efforts are being directly led by the body’s Secretary-General Dr. Mohamed Al-Essa. In his Tuesday meeting, Dr. Al-Issa praised the league’s efforts on promoting moderation and combating extremism.

On stepping up efforts to address rising extremism, Issa affirmed that the MWL is ready to actively participate in South Africa’s religious, political, intellectual life through organizing cultural events, conferences, seminars, forums and dialogues.

He pointed out that the MWL and its worldwide councils, bodies, centers and offices are tasked with raising awareness and enriching Islamic culture values among Muslims in terms of moderation and away from fundamentalism or extremism.

The MWL chief stressed the importance of the positive integration of Muslim communities, in a way that they become a constructive addition to hosting countries. Issa praised the South African model on integration and mutual awareness.

The recent approval of a draft bill by Canada House of Commons that paves the way for future measures to counter Islamophobia was reviewed as progressive at the MWL session.

Issa said in a statement that this draft bill comes in the context of raising awareness on the danger of religious hatred, which helped the terrorist extremism use “Islamophobia” as an excuse to promote its crimes.

Issa reiterated Islam’s promotion of tolerance, dialogue and rapprochement among cultures and civilizations in the context of positive exchange and spreading values of co-existence. Religious, political, cultural and intellectual differences should not be allowed to feed into extremism and terrorism, he explained.

Issa said terrorist extremism, mistakenly related to Islam, plays into the interests of promoters of Islamophobia. Rising Islamophobia could provoke a backlash among passionate Muslim youth who could be swayed into radicalization by opportunist terrorists who are constantly in search for a new rally base.

MWL Conference Concludes Its International Conference for Intellectual Trends

Muslim Scholars at the conference

Makkah – The International Conference for Intellectual Trends between Freedom of Expression and Sharia Law asked Muslims to respect the link between religion and co-existence. It also criminalized spreading sectarianism.

The conference, which was held in Makkah and organized by the Islamic Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League (MWL), concluded the conference by issuing a closing statement of 11 articles valuing the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques speech and considering it a significant document for the conference.

The conference urged the Council in its closing statement to prepare a project on Sharia laws and regulations in contemporary intellectual trends and review it in the next meeting to be considered as a guideline for Islamic organizations around the world.

The statement also called on Muslims around the world to support and encourage the unity of Islam by acting according to the real Islamic values. These real values, which we learned from Prophet Muhammad, taught us that there are no different kinds of Islam and all Muslims are equals.

The conference stressed that Muslims should not be weakened by minor differences.

It also reiterated the importance of standing against media outlets that create and promote hatred and strife between Muslims themselves and with other religions.

In addition, the conference stated that sect or Fiqh schools are part of Islam but are not a substitute for the uniting religion. It added that it is unacceptable to argue with scholars who are committed to the righteous path of the Prophet.

The statement warned scholars to be taken by appearances of misbehaviors, and urged them to consider the goodwill of others before judging. It added that convictions can’t be forced but rather persuaded through containment and dialogue.

Countering terrorism and combating extremism were of the most important items confirmed in the closing statement of the international conference.

Terrorism and extremism were likened to an “infectious disease” that is fueled by ignorance and absence of the true Islamic beliefs which terrorist and extremist individuals and groups exploit to pass on their “poisons”.

The conference also praised the respect Islamic communities receive in non-Islamic countries given that the laws and cultures of those countries protect freedom of religion or belief. It urged Muslims to respect all laws, asking those who can’t conform to leave the countries without violating rules or tarnishing Islam.

King Salman: We are Keen to Provide an Example for Protecting Rights, Legitimate Freedoms

Saudi

Riyadh – Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz confirmed Saudi Arabia’s keenness to provide an example for protecting the rights and legitimate freedoms, and achieving prosperity and comprehensive social development, in accordance with Islamic Sharia, all the while preserving the social security and enhancing confidence in our religion and between the citizen and government officials.

King Salman’s statement came in a speech delivered on his behalf by Prince Khalid al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Governor of Makkah Region, at the opening ceremony of the international conference on intellectual orientations between speech freedom and Sharia fundamentals, hosted by Muslim World League (MWL).

At the conference titled “Intellectual trends between freedom of expression and Shariah regulations,” Prince Khalid said that freedom of expression is an integral part of the overall freedoms and it is granted in Islam, which says that Allah created all humans free.

Prince Khalid said that, as per the holy Quran, humans are free to have their blood, money and honor preserved and remain free except from worshipping God Almighty.

He said the Islamic Fiqh Assembly reaffirmed, at its 9th session eight years ago, that expressing opinion is protected in Islam in line with Shariah, including that serves the interests of Muslims.

Prince Khalid added that expression of opinion should not involve attacks on religion, its rituals or sacred places, and should show commitment to honesty, integrity and impartiality, adding that one’s opinion should work to protect the interests and values of the community, and not be detrimental to public order or lead to discord between Muslims.

At the same time, opinion should be formed based on reliable sources and people should not promote rumors, he stated.

“We have recently seen many controversies about freedom of expression, especially on social media, which have no controls, but we strongly believe in the capacity of Islamic Shariah to protecting rights and freedoms,” he said, adding that the Kingdom is keen to be an example of a country that protects human rights.

The prince said that the conference is hoped to shed light on the important issues that correct any misinterpretation about the Islamic religion that may have been formed due to misinformation or an impulse.

Prince Khalid said media should be a tool of good that spreads spiritual values and humanity; they should be responsible and aware of the danger pose by the publication of items harmful to religious values or leading to discord.

He added that according to Article 39 of the Saudi law: “mass media, publication facilities and other means of expression shall function in a manner that is courteous and fair and shall abide by State laws. They shall play their part in educating the masses and boosting national unity.

All that may give rise to mischief and discord, or may compromise the security of the State and its public image, or may offend against man’s dignity and rights shall be banned. Relevant regulations shall explain how this is to be done.”

Secretary General of the Islamic Fiqh Assembly Salih al-Marzouqi said Islam is a basic pillar in building correct human relations, and that it is responsible for the establishment of justice, respect, security and development.

He said that since the establishment of Saudi Arabia, it had adopted the causes of Islam and Muslims and its kings stood against deviant thoughts that undermine some Arab and Muslim countries.

Since its establishment, the Islamic Fiqh Assembly had held 22 sessions with over 130 resolutions about religion and creed, and other economic, social and medical aspects. He also said that the assembly will hold two sessions in Europe this year. In addition, the assembly issued a number of recommendations and resolutions, including those trying to equate Islam with terrorism or Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia.

The event was also addressed by MWL Secretary General Mohammed Abdulkarim al-Eisa, who said that personal freedom, which emerged in the social development in the West, is strongly respected the Muslim world.

He added that there have been exaggerated demands to allow people to say or behave whatever way they want, even if not conforming to Islamic teachings.

Also during the conference, Grand Mufti of Saudi Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Sheikh said that Islam is a religion to guide people to the right path. He said the Quraan tackles all issues related to life, faith, God and eternity. He also added that in this Holy book, one can find all rules that govern the life of humans, and how they should deal with one other.

MWL: Islamophobia Increases Number of Terrorists

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa speaking in Brussels, (asharq al-awsat)

Brussels – Secretary General of Muslim World League (MWL) Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa warned that the extremist reaction against Islam is a result of Islamophobia. He indicated that it will generate more sufferings and increase numbers of extremists who previously were moderate persons coexisting with their societies in non-Muslim countries and respecting their constitutions, laws and cultures.

Speaking at a conference hosted by the European Parliament in Brussels, Issa stressed that Salafism is not a synonym of Islam but rather an approach taken by Muslims who follow their ancestors.

The conference was attended by a number of senior officials from European parliamentarians, politicians, a number of followers of religions and cultures, and leaders and activists of Muslim communities in Europe.

While terming Islamophobia an outcome of lack of knowledge about the true teachings of Islam, Issa said that terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda or Daesh are acting in the name of Islam, which rejects the very ideas that these terrorist organizations are spreading around the world.

“Islam is a 1,400-year-old religion. It cannot be equated and judged by the few events and attacks, carried out because of political or geo-strategic interests. As a religion, Islam teaches humanity, tolerance and mutual respect,” Issa stressed.

Islamic world and Muslim countries are tolerant but only smaller numbers of people are extremists, according to Issa.

He said the Muslim population in the world is around 1.6 billion and extremist forces amount to 1% out of 200, 000. He admitted that even this small number of extremists is striking because of their ideology.

He reiterated that non-Muslim countries should understand that these forces do not represent the religion of Islam.

The sec-gen differentiated between terrorist ideology and conservative thinking.

He cautioned against the use of the term “Islamic terrorism” saying that extremism represents no more than one person and it can’t describe Islam or Muslims.

Issa condemned international media reports blaming Saudi Arabia for financing and promoting extremism, terrorism and sectarian conflicts throughout the world.

Rather, he said, KSA was at war against terrorism and terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

He stressed that terrorists were targeting KSA more than any other country and warned that terrorists are successfully using social media to misguide young minds throughout the world.

The Saudi government has, in this regard, established an International Counterterrorism Center aiming to prevent terror attacks and use the media and social media to counter extremist ideas.

The Muslim World League is an international non-governmental Islamic organization, which was founded in 1962 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia following a resolution of the General Islamic Conference.