Al-Issa stresses diversity, pluralism in countering extremism

MWL international conference begins in Geneva

February 19, 2020

Saudi Gazette report

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Issa, secretary general of the Muslim World League (MWL), emphasized the responsibility of educational institutions around the world towards protecting youth from extremist ideologies irrespective of their religious affiliations through working out curricula with a focus on reinforcing principles of diversity and pluralism.

He said this while addressing an international conference organized by MWL at the United Nations office here. The conference was organized as part of the MWL initiatives for safeguarding youth from the ideas of extremism and violence, and working out mechanisms for implementation of these initiatives.

Several heads of government and parliaments, UN ambassadors, eminent religious leaders, intellectuals and academics are attending the conference.

Sheikh Al-Issa said that the initiatives are aimed at safeguarding youth from violent extremist ideas or incitement to violence, in addition to highlighting the noble characteristics of religion and the nation.

He stressed the importance of refining the discourse directed at youth, especially from all that fuels conflict and hatred, and sparks hostility and racism, with reinforcing the principle of fair equality between human beings, and understanding and respecting their differences and their natural diversity as an important ground for peace and harmony of nations and societies.

He also underscored the importance of spreading the value of tolerance and rejecting the negative aspects of hatred, racism and marginalization.

The MWL chief called on the concerned authorities in each country to find effective programs to enhance the role of the family in formulating the mindset of children and young adults in a sound manner, and to find effective programs and build multiple partnerships to support religious, cultural and ethnic harmony in pluralist countries, in parallel with the enactment of legislation to reduce hate speech, racism and marginalization.

He emphasized that religious and intellectual institutions must be aware of their responsibility towards confronting ideas of extremism, violence and terrorism, by entering into the details of these ideologies and dismantling them.

“It is also important to prevent the export or import of unauthorized religious edicts and ideas,” he said, while emphasizing that religion is a mercy to the entire world and that extremism is unacceptable under all circumstances.

Sheikh Al-Issa warned that most of the controversies are dangerous and the wrong debates between the followers of religions, lead, most often, to mutual contempt, which is a futile practice, rejected by reformers and wise people.

He stressed the importance of objective and effective dialogue between followers of religions and cultures, as well as the importance of setting the ground for the launch of this type of dialogue, which is based on showing respect for the other and their right to exist.

In his speech, Sheikh Shawky Allam, grand mufti of Egypt, affirmed that the aspirations of the terrorists have expanded to the extent of forming organized armies and invading modern technology, and thus creating a state of instability around the world.

“The way to confront these destructive ideas for humanity is cooperation and solidarity between the countries of the world and its organizations, by diagnosing the problem and building the mechanisms facing it, and enacting decisive and resolute laws to eliminate it.”

Egypt’s Minister of Endowments and Chairman of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar Juma stressed that terrorism has become the most dangerous disease of the time, spreading through online and across borders and continents, and becoming easier to transmit than all viruses.

In his speech, Johan Gurfinkel, secretary general of the Organization for Coordination between Societies, appealed to the entire world to unite in confronting extremism and violence, hate speech and fear of the other, and to protect children and youth from falling into the buzz of hate speech.

President of the Supreme Islamic Council of Algeria Bouabdallah Mohamed Ghulam Allah, thanked MWL’s great efforts in highlighting the true Islamic values.

In her speech, Sybelle Robrecht, president of the Academy Ariat Geneva, stressed the importance of cooperation to consolidate a culture of diversity, respect for identity, promote national integration, and protect youth by involving them in formation of opinion and service to the society.

Monsignor Khaled Okasha, member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in the Vatican State, described the “Makkah Document” adopted by the Makkah Islamic conference, as the contemporary hope in promoting peace and harmony around the world and confronting the discourse of extremism and hatred.

February 19, 2020
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