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.