Flashes from the Muslim World
Meets Indonesian Vice President
Saudi Minister of Hajj & Umrah, Tawfiq al-Rabiah, met Indonesian Vice President, Ma’ruf Amin Jakarta. The meeting was part of the Minister’s official visit to Indonesia, with the aim of discussing cooperation and boosting ties between the two countries to ease the arrival of Indonesian Umrah performers in Makkah and Madinah. Al-Rabiah passed on the greetings of the Saudi leadership to the Indonesian President, the government, and people of Indonesia, and its wishes for continued development and prosperity.
Create Forum for Global Consultative Assembly
Indonesia and more than twelve member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation agreed to create a forum for a global consultative assembly aimed at strengthening solidarity among Muslim countries in the face of current uncertainties. The conference in Bandung, West Java, was attended by leaders of parliament and consultative bodies of fifteen OIC member states. Participants also agreed to form relevant committees to work out more details about the Forum’s vision, mission and programs.
G20 Religion Forum
Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim majority country, kicked off the Group of 20’s first-ever Religion Forum ahead of the upcoming G20 summit in Bali. The Forum, R20, organized by Indonesia’s biggest Muslim organization – NahdiatulUlama– and the Muslim World League is part of a series of events initiated under Indonesia’s presidency of the group of the world’s 20 leading companies. More than 300 religious leaders and scholars from around the globe attended the opening of the two-day meeting.
President Received Top Peace Award
Indonesian President, JokoWidodo, received an award from the Abdu Dhabi Forum for Peace in recognition of his contributions to global peace efforts. The annual Imam Al-Hassan bin Ali Award, launched in 2015, is aimed at honoring those who created “a culture of peace and consolidating its value in Muslim societies.” Among the recipients of the award is Muslim World League Secretary-General, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, who in 2019 was recognized for promoting peace and tolerance globally.
To Finance Restoration of Islamic Center
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced that the Kingdom will finance restoration of the Jakarta Islamic Center, which was badly damaged by fire during renovation work last month. The announcement, made recently, reflects the Crown Prince’s interest in preserving the site as it plays a great role in educating young generations and spreading Islam’s tolerance and message of peace, the Saudi Press Agency reported. It added that it is also an embodiment of the fraternal relations that unite Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. The Jakarta Islamic Center is an important institution for spreading Islam, not only in Jakarta, but also for the people of Indonesia.
Pope Francis Visit to Cement Ties with Islam
Pope Francis became the first pontiff in history to visit Bahrain, that is hoped will cement ties with Islam. This trip comes three years after his historic trip to the UAE in 2019, where he signed a Muslim-Christian manifesto for peace. The Argentine pontiff, 85, has made outreach to the Muslim communities a priority during his papacy, visiting Egypt in 2017 and Iraq last year while pledging high-level interfaith dialogue.
World Cup to Provide an Extra Economic Boost
Gulf Cooperation Council economies stand to benefit from the FIFA 2022 World Cup, as more than 1.2 million fans are expected to attend the event, a survey conducted by S & P Ratings revealed. This influx will increase Qatar’s population by 1.5 times, allowing the Arab nation to experience near-term economic gains. According to the report, Dubai would benefit the most outside Qatar because of its geographic proximity, well-developed tourism industry, air line connections and multiple entry tourist visa provisions.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Ancient Christian Monastery Found
An ancient Christian monastery, possibly dating as far back as the years before Islam spread across the Arabian Peninsula, has been discovered on an island off the coast of the UAE, officials announced recently.
The monastery on Siniyah Island, part of the sand dune emirate of Umm al-Quwain, sheds new light on the history of early Christianity along the shores of the Arabian Gulf. It marks the second such monastery found in the Emirates, dating back as many as 1,400 years – long before its desert expanses gave birth to a thriving oil industry.
Wealth Fund Raises Assets
Oman Investment Authority (OIA) has raised its assets to USD41.5 billion as the sovereign fund increased its holdings in the real-estate, technology, and logistics sectors, Bloomberg reported. This brings OIA’s managed assets to over 16 billion Omani Rials (USD41.6 billion) in 40 countries. The wealth fund has achieved an annual average return of 10.3% in 2021, the review showed.
USD24bn Investment Drive
Saudi Arabia will invest up to USD24 billion in a range of commercial sectors in Jordan, Bahrain, Sudan, Iraq and Oman, the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund said recently. The Public Investment Fund has set up five regional investment companies to target infrastructure, property, mining, healthcare, food and agriculture, manufacturing technology. The PIF manages about USD620 billion in assets and aims to grow that to over USD1 trillion by 2025.
Kingdom’s Coffee Production
Saudi Coffee Company is planning to boost production by more than 700% within five years, CEO Raja al-Harbi said. The firm, solely owned by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, aims to increase production from 300 tons of coffee a year to 2,500 tons, the executive told Arab News during the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh recently.
Al-Harbi said that the Company also had plans to open 25 cafes globally, as part of a five-pillar plan to elevate the country’s coffee industry. “Coffee is the second biggest product globally after oil. Imagine one day Saudi Arabia is the major oil producer, and one of the major coffee producers.”
Over 100 Mosques Get the Green Light to Go Green
Saudi Arabia plans to expand an initiative to green up mosques across the Kingdom as part of its ambitious climate and environmental initiatives, said a senior government official.
“For this initiative, we plan to have 100 mosques in five steps,”Hamoudal-Otaibi, the Chief Financial Officer of the Greening of Mosques Initiative told Arab News.
It aims to take advantage of neglected gray water from ablutions, specifically in mosques, as it constitutes nearly 65% of all water used throughout the Kingdom.
Kingdom Signs USD30bn Investment Agreements with Seoul
Saudi Arabia signed investment agreements worth USD30 billion with South Korean companies as the two countries pledged stronger ties in the fields of energy, defense and construction.
With 40 shared projects, South Korea is among the countries cooperating with the Kingdom to help achieve the aims of Vision 2030. South Korea and Saudi Arabia also share plans to combat climate change. USD26 billion is the volume of trade between the two countries in 2021.
Plan Giant Wind Farm
Egypt and the UAE signed a deal to build one of the world’s largest onshore wind farms in Egypt. The project will be part of Egypt’s ‘Green Corridor,’ a grid of renewable energy projects aimed at ensuring renewables comprise 42% of the country’s energy mix by 2035. It will save Egypt an estimated USD5 billion in annual gas costs and offset the equivalent of 9% of its CO2 emissions.
Most Populous African State
Egypt has been ranked first in terms of population in the North African region, with 104.2 million, and placed third on the continent behind Nigeria and Ethiopia, after figures were released to coincide with African Statistics Day.
According to agency, Egypt’s population represents about 7.3% of the population of Africa’s and 1.3% of the world’s numbers. The country ranks fourteenth in terms of world population. Nigeria ranked first in the West African region with a population of 219.5 million, 15.4% of Africa’s numbers.
Ethiopia was the most populous country in the East Africa region with 122.1 million, 8.6% of the population of Africa. South Africa has a population of 61.1 million, which is 4.3% of Africa’s population.
Walking Tour Shine a Light
Gaza residents are proud Palestinians, but many know little of the heritage and history of the place where they live. Now a teenage university student is putting that right. Abdul Aziz al-Balbisi, 19, conducts weekly walking tours of the Old City, taking up to 50 young men and women at a time around the beating heart of Gaza to uncover its hidden depths. Gaza is a city rich in antiquities, information and secrets.
Many people live in it and do not know anything about it. There are so many stories and secrets in Gaza that no matter how much you thought you knew, you will be surprised that you knew so little. Under each of is stones, there is a story that talks about people who passed through and built a civilization and they left their traces that tell their story.
UNRWA in Urgent Cash Appeal
The United Nation Relief Agency has warned of a major disruption to services for Palestinian refugees unless it receives an immediate cash injection. Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the financially troubled UN Relief and Works Agency, said that in the coming weeks, UNRWA urgently needed between USD50 million to 80 million, to be able to end the year and keep schools, health centers and other basic services running. He pointed out that many Palestinian, refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan were almost entirely dependent on the agency’s support.
To Send Free Grain to Needy Countries
Russia and Turkey have reached an agreement to deliver grain free of charge to countries in need, including Djibouti, Somalia, and Sudan. Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said recently. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, told the Turkish President about sending free grain to those countries, and both of them have agreed. Russia returned to a grain deal this week which allows Ukrainian exports to pass through the black Sea.
Goes on the Road in Rabat
Under the patronage of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, the Muslim World League has launched the first travelling museum of artifacts from the Museum of the Life of the Prophet in Rabat. The Museum of the Life of the Prophet (saws) and Islamic Civilization opened in Madinah in 2021 and provides an introduction to the life of Prophet Muhammad (saws).
The Muslim World League plans to inaugurate travelling museums in various countries, ensuring they are equipped with the same cutting-edge technology as the original museum in Madinah, including virtual reality and 3D imaging to reconstruct many of the Prophet’s personal possessions.
Discuss Global Challenges
Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC),HisseinBrahimTaha, recently met Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow. They discussed major regional and international challenges and underscored the importance of coordination and consultation for the benefit of global efforts to foster peace, stability and developments in the world.
Political Islamism in the West
A global coalition formed to counter the spread of Islamist extremism in the West held its first conference in the Austrian city of Salzburg. The Champions for Liberty Against the Reality of Islamist Tyranny, or CLARITY Coalition, was set up by former Muslims, Muslim reformers, activists, and writers dedicated to combating Islamic extremists.
Participants in the Forum agreed that radical Islamists’ influence is increasing in North America and Western Europe through infiltration of local and central governments. The group warned that Islamists are targeting different ethnicities and faiths, including moderate Muslims who want to integrate for peace and prosperity.
[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]