Flashes from the Muslim World

BANGLADESH

Mosques Urged to Denounce Radicalism

The Bangladesh government told mosques to denounce extremism, following deadly attacks in Sri Lanka that killed hundreds of people. Sri Lanka has been shocked by the Easter Sunday bombings that targeted churches and top hotels. The mosque directive came from the Prime Minister’s office, telling clerics to deliver a message in their Friday sermons that opposed terrorism and extremism. Extremism has no place in Islam, Sultan Muhiuddin, an Imam of Dhaka’s Rahmatia Jame Mosque told Arab News. Premier Sheikh Hasina said terrorism had become a global phenomenon and that every country was threatened by this menace.

Buddhist Monks Serve Iftar

Built in 1951, the monastery which is located in Basabo in the eastern part of Dhaka has been involved in various social welfare activities. Since the start of Ramadan this year, almost 200 food packs have been doled out every day. The fifteen monks who live in the monastery prepare the food boxes for Iftar. The monastery’s generosity has not gone unnoticed by the fasting Muslims. The monastery’s generosity has won praise from Bangladesh authorities, too.

SRI LANKA

Rejects Plans for Shariah University

Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, refused permission for a planned USD10 million Shariah University in one of the country’s main cities. And in the wake of the deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks on hotels and churches, the premier also announced that all madrasas would be brought under the umbrella of Sri Lanka’s Education Ministry. The latest move by the Sri Lankan government follows widespread unrest on the island, with anti-Muslim riots having caused damage running into millions of dollars. At present, there are 317 madrasas throughout the island with an estimated 25,000 students. In addition to the local teachers, there are 38 Arabic teachers and 85 foreign students.

INDONESIA

Welcomes Saudi Promotion of Moderate Islam

Indonesia welcomes the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s call for the promotion of moderate Islam, the country’s consul general said recently. “We believe in Islam Wasatiyyah – the Middle Way of Islam – in implementing moderation in the practice of the Islamic faith and as a response to check the spread of extremism,” Dr. Mohammed Hery Saripudin said. Saripudin also welcomed the recent approval by the Shoura Council of the proposed Privileged Iqama system, widely referred to as the Saudi Green Card, which will offer permanent residence to eligible expatriates.

Dates Gifted

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) gifted 100 tons to the Indonesian government, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The gift is part of the Kingdom’s programs to help friendly countries. KSRelief also delivered 80 tons of dates to the World Food Programme to be distributed to needy people in Pakistan.

MALAYSIA

Islamic Ministry Opens Iftar Saem

The Kingdom’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs inaugurated its annual Iftar program in Malaysia. Iftar Saem, will provide meals for around 30,000 Muslims in cities across Malaysia. The launch event was held at the Islamic University campus in Kuala Lumpur. Officials, scholars and more than 600 students from the university also took part. The program is running in 25 countries this year.

SOUTH KOREA

Using Social Media to Talk about Islam

“Living as a Muslim in South Korea has been tough, and is getting tougher due to Islamophobia,” said Ahn, who converted to Islam a decade ago. Park Si-eun, who converted to Islam in 2010 said, “There are a lot of challenges for Muslims in Korea and even more for Korean Muslims. Nevertheless, I feel there have been some changes in the public perception of Islam, slowly but surely.” According to Korea Muslim Federation, the number of Muslims in the country stands at about 150,000, some 0.3 percent of the population. Of them, Korean Muslims account for 35,000. There are eight mosques, including the Seoul Central Mosque, which was built in 1976 with the help of large monetary contribution from Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations. Park Dong-Shin, a South Korean Muslim, runs two You Tube channels. He started the channel in 2011 with the goal of providing accurate information on Islam, and they have gained popularity thanks to the YouTube boom. Park, who converted in 2009, told Arab News. Youngsters in South Korea show a big interest in hijab fashion and halal food.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Sharjah Mosque: Emirates’ Largest Mosque

The Emirati Dirham 300 million Sharjah Mosque located at the intersection of the Mlieha and Emirates roads can accommodate over 25,000 worshippers. Construction of the project began in 2014. The mosque, it’s garden, and facilities are built over a total area of two million square feet. The Sharjah Mosque will open up to non-Muslim visitors, with dedicated spaces and pathways defined for them. The mosque is home to a large library that has many original Islamic works. Over 2,200 cars and buses can be parked in the different parking lots of the mosque complex. A rubber track goes around the mosque for visitors who wish to go for a walk around the complex. It also has a souvenir shop, museum, and fountains.

Makkah Photos on Display

More than five decades after the world’s first photograph was produced with a camera, an Arab army engineer ventured to the ancient city of Makkah and made history by chronicling the Muslim world’s holiest site on film for the first time. Egyptian-born Muhammad Sadiq Bey’s photos of Makkah are just some of 250 photographs on display in Photographs 1842–1896: An Early Album of the World, the exhibition at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The show offers a fascinating exploration of the development of photography, presenting images of 44 countries around the world. The pictures of Makkah give a rare snapshot of what life in the holy city was like more than a century ago.

6,000 Worshippers Pray with Imam of Prophet’s Mosque

The Grand Mosque of Rashidiya in Dubai hosted 6,000 worshippers during the Ramadan praying Taraweeh with Sheikh Saad bin Saeed Al-Ghamidi, Imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Saudi Arabia. Taraweeh is an additional prayer at night after Isha prayer during the holy month. The Imam, Al-Ghamidi was invited by Ramadan Dubai, an event which runs during the duration of Ramadan. Al-Ghamidi praised the effectiveness of Ramadan Dubai, pointing out that the UAE is always returning to positive and constructive change.

OMAN

Reforms Key to Easing Oman Debt

Oman needs fiscal consolidation and better public expenditure alongside implementing reforms to mitigate its growing debt, the regional head of the World Bank said recently. Oman’s state coffers have been hit by a slump in oil prices over the past few years and the country has increasingly relied on external borrowing to levels that have created concerns among investors and pushed its credit rating into junk status. Fiscal consolidation and improving public expenditure will be key – these two are important. Muscat looks to higher oil prices to ease fiscal strains as World Bank raises concerns about increased borrowing.

Makkah Photos on Display

More than five decades after the world’s first photograph was produced with a camera, an Arab army engineer ventured to the ancient city of Makkah and made history by chronicling the Muslim world’s holiest site on film for the first time. Egyptian-born Muhammad Sadiq Bey’s photos of Makkah are just some of 250 photographs on display in Photographs 1842–1896: An Early Album of the World, the exhibition at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The show offers a fascinating exploration of the development of photography, presenting images of 44 countries around the world. The pictures of Makkah give a rare snapshot of what life in the holy city was like more than a century ago.

6,000 Worshippers Pray with Imam of Prophet’s Mosque

The Grand Mosque of Rashidiya in Dubai hosted 6,000 worshippers during the Ramadan praying Taraweeh with Sheikh Saad bin Saeed Al-Ghamidi, Imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Saudi Arabia. Taraweeh is an additional prayer at night after Isha prayer during the holy month. The Imam, Al-Ghamidi was invited by Ramadan Dubai, an event which runs during the duration of Ramadan. Al-Ghamidi praised the effectiveness of Ramadan Dubai, pointing out that the UAE is always returning to positive and constructive change.

KUWAIT

Inaugurates Causeway to Free Trade Zone

Kuwait inaugurated one of the world’s longest causeways, linking the oil-rich Gulf state’s capital to an uninhabited border region set to become a major free trade hub. The 36 km bridge connects Kuwait City to the northern desert area of Subbiya, where Kuwait aims to create the ‘Silk City’ project linking the Gulf to central Asia and Europe. The ‘Jaber Bridge’ – named after late ruler, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah – took five years to complete at a cost of USD3.6 billion.

SAUDI ARABIA

OIC Calls for Empowering Women

The head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) urged all its member-states and relevant institutions to join global efforts to enable and encourage girls and young women to study and work in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and information and communications technology (ICT). OIC Secretary General, Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, made these remarks on the occasion of International Girls in ICT Day, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Al-Othaimeen underlined the importance of strengthening cooperation and coordination among member states in this area.

Corruption Siphoning Off Vital Funds

The multitrillion-dollar cost of corruption was siphoning vital funds away from initiatives to help develop some of the world’s most impoverished countries, a Saudi gathering of leading human rights officials has been told. The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen, has warned that widespread bribery and the theft of public funds was seriously undermining efforts to protect human rights. He noted that according to World Economic Forum statistics, the cost of corruption represented five percent of the world’s gross national income, a figure which negatively impacted on the poorest and most vulnerable people.

Global Religious Tolerance

Nations needed to bring about an entente cordiale in relation to religious tolerance, the Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) told a French delegation visiting Saudi Arabia. Addressing ministers, academics and legal experts from France, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim al-Issa stressed the importance of countries respecting the religious rights of minority groups. Islam guarantees the values of freedom and human rights, but there is a difference between freedom on one hand and chaos, prejudice, violation of public order, abuse of national conscience and infringements on public security, the MWL’s Secretary-General said during a lecture attended by the French delegates. Al-Issa said that it was vital for all nations to protect the religious rights of minority faith-groups, and to channel them through legally set procedures.

Meets UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator

The General Supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) met the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen at the Center’s headquarters, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Dr. Abdullah al-Rabeeah met Lise Grande in Riyadh, where they discussed ways to enhance cooperation and support relief and humanitarian work in Yemen. Saudi Arabia hosts twelve million immigrants of different nationalities, which represents 37% of its population, and, thus, it ranks second in the world in terms of the number of immigrants, preceded only by the United States. Among these immigrants are 561,911 Yemenis, 262,573 Syrians and 259,668 people from Myanmar.

Meets Minister of North Caucasus

The Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, held a meeting with the Minister of North Caucasus Affairs, Sergel Chebotarev, in Moscow, to review issues of common interests. These include the historical Islamic presence in Russia and ways to increase cooperation between Russia and the Islamic world, to tackle hate-speech, hatred, and discrimination and to address calls for violence and terror. The MWL Secretary-General stressed the need for continued efforts toward promoting peace, harmony and positive coexistence around the world, along with respecting the national umbrella of each state.

Gifts Mark Start of Ramadan

Volunteers from Ataat voluntary group distributed flowers, dates, and brochures in Madinah at the start of Ramadan. The group introduced the initiative at the Haramain High-Speed Railway station and the city’s international airport. Ataat is affiliated with the non-profit organization, Fazzah, in Madinah, in cooperation with the Khair Ummah initiative launched by Madinah’s principality with the participation of government and private sectors. The distribution will continue throughout Ramadan.

Workers Keep Mosque Courtyard Clean

A team of more than 2,000 cleaners are working round the clock over four different shifts to keep the Grand Mosque in Makkah spotless during the holy month of Ramadan. The workers manage to clean the entire holy mosque in just 45 minutes. Cleaning does not hinder the large numbers of worshippers and visitors to the mosque, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Thirty special electric vehicles, 67 machines and 400 liters of water are used to clean the courtyard surrounding the Kaaba.

Islamic Coalition Delegation

A delegation from the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition visited the ‘Cities Destroyed by Terrorism,’ exhibitions at the Riyadh National Museum. The exhibition, virtually reconstructs Middle Eastern cities affected by terrorism, such as Mosul, and Nineveh in Iraq, Aleppo, and Palmyra in Syria, and Leptis in Libya, and was organized by the Saudi Culture Ministry in collaboration with the Arab World Institute in Paris.

OIC Body Works with Media to Promote Tolerance, Respect

A global network of Arab and African journalists will work with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to promote tolerance, peace and mutual respect following an agreement to establish training and educational programs at two regional centers. The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), founded by the OIC 40 years ago, signed a memorandum of understanding with the network to develop media practices within the framework of the profession’s ethics and laws. Training and educational programs for journalists will take place through ISESCO’s two regional centers for media training in Dakar and Khartoum.

Grand Mosque Library

The library of the Grand Mosque is one of the oldest in the Islamic world. It is a prominent landmark in the city, the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), and contains more than 350,000 rare books and manuscripts. The library was established during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi in 160 AH (776 CE) and is located in the neighborhood of Batha Quraish. The library building consists of thirteen floors covering an area of more than 2,000 square meters, with five reading rooms for men, one reading room for women, a meeting and training room, a center for scientific research and revival of Islamic heritage, and a department for audio and visual production.

Islamic Ministry Activates Smart Mosque System

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs branch in Madinah has completed the activation of the smart mosques system. This aims to use state-of-the-art digital systems to monitor mosques in all parts of the Kingdom quickly and accurately. The initiative allows Imams and congregates to convey their observations to the Ministry through a device installed in each mosque, via an encrypted smart data panel using the Quick Response (QR) code. The smart mosque system will be activated in 300 mosques in the coming weeks, while the 1,700 remaining mosques will follow gradually.

Prophet’s Mosque: All Plans in Place

The Operations Room of the Prophet’s Mosque carried out its tasks during the holy month of Ramadan to ensure safety and security of worshippers. The tasks included following up on incoming electronic communications, transmitting them to competent organs and ensuring that they are addressed. The Operations Room also follows up on, and supports, field services through smart surveillance cameras. Plans are developed to deal with crowds, weather conditions and the safety of visitors and worshippers.

70 Imams Preach against Terror in 35 Countries

Seventy Saudi Imams delivered Friday sermons in 35 countries around the world as part of a Kingdom-led initiative condemning extremism and violence. The international project, aimed at promoting Islam’s values of moderation and tolerance, was run under the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance’s Overseas Imamate program. During their sermons, the Imams emphasized the importance of fasting, praying and reading the Qur’an during the holy month of Ramadan and they called on Muslims around the world to unite against those who wished to cause division among faiths.

Alinma Bank Donates 1,000 Ramadan Baskets

In cooperation with the Saudi Food Bank (Eta’am), Al-Inma Bank recently donated 1,000 Ramadan food baskets that were distributed to needy families across the Kingdom, as part of the Bank’s corporate social responsibility activities. Employees of the Bank also participated in the distribution of food to the needy in Riyadh. Corporate social responsibility has always been a pillar of the Bank, which sponsors numerous charitable activities every year.

International Prize for Prophetic Sunnah

The Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud International Prize for the Prophetic Sunnah and Contemporary Islamic Studies organized a symposium called ‘Religious Efforts Exerted at the Prophet’s Mosque during the Saudi Era.’ The head of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, Mohammed Hussein Al-Mahraswy, delivered the keynote speech, in which he said, “The symposium comes in the context of the Kingdom’s interest in the Two Holy Mosques and its role in spreading moderation in Islam, correcting misconceptions, fostering competitive spirit among researchers and enriching Islamic library.” Dr. Abdulrahman al-Sudais, President of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques said, “This blessed symposium embodies our leaders’ interest in the Two Holy Mosques, and reflects their concern to take care of them, serve Islam and Muslims, and achieve worldwide security and peace.”

Exhibition Inaugurated

Prince Saud bin Khalid al-Faisal, deputy governor of Madinah, opened the first international exhibition on Life of the Prophet and the Islamic Civilization in the presence of leading Islamic figures and diplomats. The exhibition was organized by the Muslim World League (MWL) in cooperation with authorities on the history of the Prophet and Islamic fields. Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary-General, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, stressed the importance of the exhibition as a documented historic presentation on the Prophet’s life and the beauty of the Islamic civilizations. Sheikh Saleh bin Humaid, Imam, and Khateeb of the Grand Mosque in Makkah stressed the importance of working on the history of the Prophet and Islamic civilization, noting their scientific richness that deserves attention and care and expressing his appreciation of the exhibition.

Sheikh Dr. Faisal Jameel Ghazzawi – Imam of Grand Mosque

Sheikh Dr. Faisal Jameel Ghazzawi is an Imam at the Grand Mosque and the dean of the Da’wah and Fundamentals of Religion Faculty at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah. Ghazzawi said in his latest Friday sermon that the faith of Muslims could not be complete without them having the best wishes and intentions toward other people. He also called on Muslims to instigate good deeds and multiply them during the holy month of Ramadan, so that this practice became a habit they could not rid of. He warned Muslims about social media sites becoming a distraction during Ramadan, and how these could lead them astray from diligence and hard work in a season meant for good deeds.

To Restore three Historic Mosques in Hail

Three historic mosques in Saudi Arabia’s Hail region will be updated as part of an SR 50 million restoration project in the Kingdom. Initial work on Al-Jarad Mosque, Qafar Mosque and Al Jal’ud Mosque in Hail will cost SR 6.2 million. Al Jarad Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the historic town of Maghaydah and dates back to 1862 and was restored in 1962. Al-Jarad Mosque is built with mud and stone with a wooden roof. Qafar Mosque is located in the village of Qafar, which dates back to the first half of the 14th century. Al Jal’ud Mosque is located in the provinces of Samira, southeast of Hail. It dates back to the year 1175 AH and is a station on the pilgrimage route.

400 Prayer Rugs Cleaned Daily during Ramadan, Hajj

After nearly two decades of importing prayer rugs for the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia established dedicated factories at home to manufacture and clean rugs for the largest mosque in the world. A dedicated laundry facility with 20 trained workers cleans 400 prayer rugs every day during the Ramadan and Hajj seasons, according to Nayef Al-Jahdali, Director of the Department of Cleansing and Carpet at the Grand Mosque. Al-Jahdali said workers use a special machine to remove dust from the rugs, then environmentally friendly shampoo and perfumes are applied before the rugs are rinsed. A special department is responsible for repairing damaged rugs. Belgium, Germany, and Lebanon manufactured rugs for the Grand Mosque before the Kingdom opened its own rug-cleaning facilities in 2000.

PALESTINE

Economic Conditions Suffocating the Joy of Ramadan

Gazans began the first day of Ramadan by burying the victims of Israeli airstrikes, which targeted hundreds of homes and public and private facilities over two days. Israeli military escalation has increased the suffering of the Gazans, who have been denied the joy of Ramadan due to widespread poverty, high unemployment, the salary crisis and the inability of citizens to purchase items. Since March 2017, the Palestinian Authority has deducted more than 60% of the salaries of about 50,000 of its employees in Gaza.

EGYPT

Mesaharati: Career Fights Extinction in the Digital Age

A mesaharati is a person who wakes others up before dawn in order to eat before their fast during Ramadan: a sweet and honored Ramadan tradition of the good old days. The job has been around for generations, and despite the technological revolution, it is an honored tradition that continues to this day. Historian Abdel Majid Abdul Aziz said mesaharati first appeared in Egypt during the Fatimid dynasty, arguably the most decorated period for Ramadan celebrations. This tradition has continued until modern times, lasting almost 600 years. But now, it is facing extinction as fewer people are drawn to take up the role and technology supplants it.

Top Spenders during Hajj and Umrah

Pilgrims spending in Makkah and Madinah needs to be examined and encouraged, Hajj and Umrah sector experts have told Arab News. Millions of Muslims visit the two holy cities annually, with more than six million Umrah visas issued this year so far. Egyptians top the list of spending, according to the head of the tourism and hotels committee at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Egyptians top the list of spending, followed by Iraqis, Algerians, and Turks. There was a connection between the pilgrim’s economy back home and his, or her, purchasing power and aspirations when in Saudi Arabia. A pilgrim spends an average of USD700 during a period of ten days, five days spent in Makkah and five days spent in Madinah.

SYRIA

Alepppo’s Broken Minarets

The pencil minaret of the Ottoman Adliyeh Mosque in Syria’s Aleppo lists to one side and is scored by an ugly gash running down its flank, the result of the bombing in the war. The sorry state of Aleppo’s Old City, a labyrinthine World Heritage Site and a battlefield from 2012 to 2016, is obvious from a glance across the skyline at its shell-beaten minarets. They look down on an area that suffered massive damage in a conflict that brought down the medieval covered souk, smashed mosque domes and burnt churches. Years of war smashed World Heritage Sites. Restoration work is controversial in Syria. Lack of money means little work is possible.

TUNISIA

Raises Minimum Wages

Tunisia raised the minimum wage for industrial and farm workers as well as pensions for hundreds of thousands of private sector retirees by 6.5% in a move to defuse discontent over economic hardships. Tunisia, the North African country, has been hailed as the Arab Spring’s only democratic success story because protests toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 without triggering violent upheaval, as happened in Libya, Egypt, and Syria. Since then, nine cabinets have failed to resolve Tunisia’s economic woes including high inflation and unemployment.

SOMALIA

Millions Hungry as Drought Grips Somalia

Drought has left nearly two million Somalis in desperate need of food, a humanitarian agency warned recently, as poor rainfall pushes communities to the brink across East Africa. The humanitarian situation has deteriorated at an alarming rate as a result of the drought, Victor Moses, the Council’s country director in Somalia, said in a statement. The United Nations estimates that 1.7 million people are going hungry, with that figure expected to grow by another half a million come July.

CAMBODIA

Praised for Commitment to Tolerance and Diversity

The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen, praised Cambodia for its tolerance and respect for diversity. It came as an OIC delegation took part in an annual Ramadan celebration hosted by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at Koh Pich Exhibition Center in the capital, Phnom Penh. “This annual Iftar celebration is a symbol of Cambodia’s long-standing respect for diversity, multiculturalism and tolerance, and the respect of the government for the Islamic community,” said Al-Othaimeen. The OIC delegation distributed copies of the Qur’an and dates for those who are fasting then visited a number of mosques and schools for Muslims.

AZERBAIJAN

Dialogue and Cultural Exchanges Important

Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has called for increased dialogue and intercultural exchanges to help tackle the growing threats of hate and discrimination, and the terrorism and extremism they cause. Addressing the Fifth World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue – which was just concluded in Azerbaijani capital, Baku, on the theme of building dialogue into action against discrimination inequality and violent conflict, he recalled the recent attacks on mosques in New Zealand and churches in Sri Lanka, pointing out that rising ethnic and religious conflict has increased tensions in peaceful societies.

SPAIN

Kingdom’s Efforts in Service of Islam

Muslims in Spain have welcomed the Kingdom’s efforts in the service of Islam and its followers, the Director of an Islamic Center in the southern Spanish city of Malaga is reported to have said by Saudi Press Agency. Dr. Mohammed Kamal Mustafa al-Zamrawi, also commended the Kingdom’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance for dispatching 70 Imams around the world to lead prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.

DENMARK

Ramadan in Denmark

Ramadan in Denmark is where many Muslims will fast for more than seventeen hours a day due to the late sunset. Muslims observing Ramadan in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries will fast for far longer than those further south, where daylight hours are shorter. Muslims who chose to fast in places that see the midnight sun have three options, according to Asim Mohammed, a scholar, and Imam at a mosque in Oslo, Norway. He explains that they can fast according to dawn and the sunset in the nearest city that does not have continuous daylight, or the times in Makkah, or the times in their own area when the sun last actually set.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Stresses Need to Counter Hate Speech

The Responsible Leaders’ Summit at the United Nations in New York stressed the pivotal role of Saudi Arabia in maintaining global harmony and peace, as well as its global status as the spiritual leader of the Muslim world, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary-General, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, delivered the opening and closing remarks of the summit along with Bawa Jain, Secretary-General of the World Council of Religious Leaders. Al-Issa focused on the vital role that responsible leadership plays in facing the many challenges of the modern world. Al-Issa noted that education is one of the main drivers of a sustainable, peaceful future, stressing that preparing teachers is the main point of focus. Al-Issa also addressed the responsibilities of religious leaders. These include countering hate speech and all theories of religious or ethnic extremism that lead to violence or terrorism. Respect for other religions and their followers, he said, is vital for peaceful coexistence.

COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER

UNITED KINGDOM

UK Hosts Ramadan Iftar

Britain has fueled its appetite to strengthen ties with Makkah by hosting a Ramadan Iftar in the holy city. The British Consulate General in Jeddah provided fast-breaking meals at the Hilton Makkah Convention Hotel in Jabal Omar, the first time the country has staged an Iftar in Makkah. The British Consulate General placed great value on the existing relations between Makkah and the United Kingdom. The British pilgrims performing Umrah has reached 95,000. The Consul General applauded the Saudi authorities for facilitating the Umrah journey for British pilgrims.