Revenge not the answer to Islamophobia, says Pakistan minister

Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry during the interview with Arab News. (AN photo by Yazeed Alsamrani)
Updated 29 March 2019

Revenge not the answer to Islamophobia, says Pakistan minister

  • Deadly New Zealand mosque attacks were ‘unfortunate’
  • ‘Huge mistake’ linking Muslims with terrorism

RIYADH: Revenge is not the answer to Islamophobia, Pakistan’s information minister told Arab News in an interview.

Fawad Chaudhry was in Riyadh at the invitation of Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, and spoke about Islamophobia and terrorism weeks after an attack on two mosques killed 50 Muslims in New Zealand.

“What happened in New Zealand was obviously very unfortunate, and this Islamophobia that Europe is going through, what answer can we have for that? Should we think in terms of revenge? The answer is no,” he told Arab News. 

“The Muslim population in the world is 1.3 billion. If such a big population thinks of revenge, this means bloodshed for the whole world. So how do you answer to this phenomenon? The answer is through culture.”

He praised Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote its culture and combating Islamophobia through culture.

“Cultural integration is the best option, through which you can make people understand you,” the minister said. 

“Unfortunately the continuous use of the term Islamic terrorism has created this phenomenon of Islamophobia. Terrorism could not be related to any religion, but Europe did (make) a huge mistake by affiliating terrorism with Muslims.”

Cultural exchange

The minister said he and Prince Badr discussed the importance of cultural exchange. He added that Pakistan was ready to help the Kingdom following the Ministry of Culture’s bid to further help the arts. The initiatives include prizes, scholarship programs and a fund.

“Saudi Arabia needs academies. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia share the same family values, the same culture as well as modern values and the same religious ethos. We can help Saudi Arabia in a big way, if Saudi Arabia would like to make an academy of performing arts in Riyadh, we will be more than happy to do that. Saudi Arabia’s leadership thinking doesn’t only affect Saudi Arabia, it affects the whole of the Muslim ummah (community). Such progressive thinking and modernization is important for the ummah,” Chaudhry said.

He said Pakistani society was getting back on track after years of domestic instability. 

The Taliban had targeted artists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province but there were efforts to revive their culture and promote it, he added.

No mediation with Iran to ease tensions, says Adel Al-Jubeir

Updated 22 October 2019

No mediation with Iran to ease tensions, says Adel Al-Jubeir

  • Al-Jubeir says Iranian regime has to change its behavior and “show good intentions rather than words”
  • Praises “strong international position” taken by most European countries and the United States toward Iran

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday no mediation efforts were underway between Saudi Arabia and Iran to ease tensions in the region.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have also been running high since President Donald Trump withdrew from a deal between world powers and Iran that aimed to rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. US sanctions have slashed Iranian oil exports.
“It is the responsibility of the Iranian regime to change its behavior and show good intentions rather than words,” Al-Jubeir said at a lecture at the Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (Chatham House) in London, in comments reported by SPA, the Saudi state news agency.
Al-Jubeir accused Iran of being behind an attack on two Aramco oil facilities last month, saying that “Iran does not respect the sovereignty of states or international law.”
He also praised the “strong international position” taken by most European countries and the United States toward Iran, stressing that “Iranian actions have become a threat to the interests and security of countries in the region.”
On Yemen where efforts are underway to end a power struggle between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and southern separatists, Al-Jubeir stressed that the Kingdom supported a political solution: “There is an international dialogue on Yemen with a view to reaching a peaceful solution to the crisis.”
On the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the Saudi crown prince’s ambitious plan to overhaul the economy of Saudi Arabia, Al-Jubeir said the Kingdom was pursuing a deliberate plan to achieve the objectives of the vision, which was based on supporting innovation, encouraging young people and promoting new economic sectors such as manufacturing, mining, tourism and maritime transport. 
“The empowerment of women was at the forefront of the vision’s goals, as they now have the right to drive and travel without a permit, in addition to their involvement in the labor market,” the minister said.