Muslim World League chief: Dialogue key to tackling Islamophobia

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Sheikh Mohammed Al-Issa said we must clarify the true picture of Islam and Muslims. (AN photo/Basheer Saleh)
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MWL chief talked of the importance of dialogue in tackling Islamophobia. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
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MWL chief talked of the importance of dialogue in tackling Islamophobia. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Updated 03 December 2019

Muslim World League chief: Dialogue key to tackling Islamophobia

  • Some far-right people are against Islam “because of what they’ve heard or seen”

RIYADH: On the first day of the Saudi Media Forum in Riyadh, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League on Monday stressed the importance of dialogue in tackling Islamophobia.

“There are many different far rights. Many of them have it implanted that they just hate Muslims without a reason. It may be difficult, but discussion is key and has fruitful outcomes,” said Sheikh Mohammed Al-Issa.

“As Muslims and Islamic organizations, we must clarify the true picture of Islam and Muslims.”

He said negative campaigns against Islam are being led by the far right. “We had sessions with people who hated Islam, but now we call them good friends after our transparency and discussions with them. Therefore, discussion is pertinent,” Al-Issa said.

Some far-right people are against Islam “because of what they’ve heard or seen,” he added. “These people are much easier to have a discussion with (than those who do not have a reason for their prejudice). They’re found in a lot of European countries.”

Other far-right people “respect Muslims and live with them, but worry about the outcomes” of immigration and demographic changes, Al-Issa said.

One issue that has led to difficulties in terms of coexistence is that some Islamic laws are not applicable in non-Muslim countries, he added.

“We urge everyone who lives in a country to respect its laws, culture and constitution,” said Al-Issa, adding that “the media plays an important role” in promoting Islamophobia, as do movies. He said the answer is to raise awareness.


Saudi FM says Israeli passport holders cannot visit kingdom

Updated 28 January 2020

Saudi FM says Israeli passport holders cannot visit kingdom

  • Said Israel policy unchanged
  • Israel on Sunday said that its citizens could now travel to Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia confirmed on Monday that Israeli passport holders were not permitted to enter the Kingdom.

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the policy was unchanged despite Israel saying on Sunday that its citizens could now travel to Saudi Arabia.

“Our policy is fixed,” Prince Faisal told CNN. “We do not have relations with the state of Israel, and Israeli passport holders cannot visit the Kingdom at the current time.

“When a peace agreement is reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis, I believe the issue of Israel’s involvement in the region will be on the table.”

Analysts said the statements by both countries were significant as US President Donald Trump prepared to unveil his Middle East peace plan in Washington.

“Israel wanted to fool the Arabs, and to put Saudi Arabia in a difficult position, saying they had resolved the issue with the Kingdom and were ready for peace,” the Saudi political analyst Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News.

“But the Kingdom is saying, ‘No, you cannot visit until there is a solution,’ and we will find out tomorrow if the Trump peace plan is that solution.”

The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, calling for normal Arab relations with Israel in return for its withdrawal from occupied land, was the benchmark, Al-Shehri said.

“If they are going to override the Arab Peace Initiative without a workable alternative, then of course the Kingdom will not establish diplomatic relations.”