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Al-Issa’s India Visit Revitalises Inter-Faith Harmony

Dr. al-Issa in his address said that both the Arab world (the cradle of Islamic faith) and India share civilisational values that naturally promote respect for varied faiths and ways of living, writes Mohammed Anas

The confluence of Islamic moderation and Indian tradition of tolerance and wisdom will steer the religious discourse to counter extremism. The message, disseminated jointly by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Muslim World League secretary general Mohammad Bin Abdulkarim al-Issa on Tuesday at the Indo Islamic Cultural Centre, was well received by a huge gathering that included Muslim leaders and ulema of almost all hues.

Prior to the function, he had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi–a sign of the importance that New Delhi has imparted to his visit.

On Wednesday he also called on President Droupati Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Mohammad Bin Abdulkarim al-Issa and NSA Ajit Doval

Dr. al-Issa in his address said that both the Arab world (the cradle of Islamic faith) and India share civilisational values that naturally promote respect for varied faiths and ways of living. “There is a famous dictum ‘unity in diversity’,” said al-Issa, hinting that this creed of Indian life is the bedrock of harmony among people world over.

He emphasised that such principles should not be left merely to remain concepts and should be put into practice so that their purpose may be manifested fruitfully.

Doval, in his address, made it clear that the desire for peace, harmony and co-existence are kernels of Indian philosophy. “No religion is under any threat as a “proud civilizational state, India believes in promoting tolerance, dialogue, and cooperation to deal with the challenges of our time,” he said.

In his speech, he shared rarely known fact that Khadija, wife of Prophet Muhammad, had expressed her liking for Indian silk and Kashmiri shawls, highlighting that India’s ties with Islamic personalities and lands date back to the very beginning of Islam.

Mohammad Bin Abdulkarim al-Issa meets President Murmu

Reception and Salience of Message

Among those who gathered to listen to Doval and al-Issa were several ulema, students (even from madrasas), community leaders and prominent personalities. A group of madrasa students, who belong to a Sufi organisation, were upbeat that now Sufis are descending to listen to a Saudi scholar which was unheard only till very recently.

“Though Dr al-Issa has a reputation of being a moderate, we have not been enthusiastic about hearing from scholars from Saudi Arabia. But, when we heard that he is touring India with a message of bridge-building not only among Muslims, but among all the communities, we came to hear him. He mentioned that he communicates with Hindu scholars and spiritual leaders like Sadguru and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to know their viewpoints on world peace. It is very heartening to know that as we Sufis believe in dialogue and respect for all,” said Ashraf Jamei, a madrasa student from Old Delhi.

Shakeel, another madrasa student who is a pass-out of Jamitatul Falah, Azamgarh, said that he was also hopeful that al-Issa’s visit will pave the way for more such dialogues among Indians.

Mohammad Bin Abdulkarim al-Issa and NSA Ajit Doval

Jamiatul Falah is run by the Jamaat e Islami. It is interesting to note here that two prominent Muslim outfits – Jamaat e Islami and Jamiat Ulema e Hind – have stayed aloof from welcoming al-Issa.

Renowned Muslim scholar Khwaja Iftikhar Ahmad was also among the audience. He succinctly summarised the visit of Dr al-Issa. “It has brought Muslims of the world, Muslims of India, and the Indian state on the one platform. This is the most significant message of his visit. He is very close to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman; the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and it means that his words and interactions carry almost official weightage. He clearly said that India is a harmonious place for Muslims. It was reciprocated by Doval,” he said.

Columnist and researcher on Islamic issues, A. Faizur Rehman, also expressed positivity on the message of moderation brought by al-Issa. “The picture of Saudi Arabia as a hardline supporter of extremist views is completely changing now. I have always kept moderate views close to my heart and welcome moderation of Muslim thoughts completely,” he said.

Shujaat Ali Quadri, the chairman of pan-India Muslim Student Organisation (MSO), said that al Issa’s message of moderation clubbed with Indian tolerance will not only impress peace-lovers, it will open the way for wider world dialogue for peace. “His rigorous six-day tour will not only focus on interfaith harmony, it will connect Indian political and religious leadership with the leading body of the Islamic world,” he added.

‘I salute democracy, Constitution of India’

Muslim World League chief Mohammad Bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa on Wednesday lauded Indian philosophy and tradition that taught harmony to the world and said that he salutes the democracy and Constitution of India.

He also highlighted the “peaceful coexistence that he witnessed in India is unique.” Al-Issa who is the current Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL), an organisation based in Saudi Arabia and representing Muslims worldwide is on a five-day visit to India that began on July 10.

He was addressing the “Dialogue for Harmony among Religions,” an event organised in collaboration with Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony (India) on Wednesday.

In his address, he said that he was delighted to meet the President of India Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, intellectual leaders as well as spiritual leaders during his India visit.

In context of the Indian philosophy and tradition, ” Al-Issa said, “I salute Indian democracy with the bottom of my heart. I salute the Constitution of India. I salute the Indian philosophy and tradition that taught harmony to the world.”

He further issued a piece of advice to religious leaders and said there is a need to protect and guide the next generation.

“Whenever there is a lack of dialogue between two, misunderstandings and problems arise. It is hence important that a bridge for dialogue should be built. In order to prevent the civilizational clash, we need to protect and guide the next generation from childhood, ” said Al-Issa.

Al-Issa, who is an Islamic scholar and renowned figure in global affairs also appealed to stand against the narratives about the clash of civilisations and religious hatred.

“We must stand against religious conflict so that fundamentalism does not re-emerge,” he said.

He also took a dig at organisations that promote terrorism saying, “Misconceptions, hate theories and wrong perceptions have expedited the road from radicalization to terrorism. To entrench power, many leaders have used hate narratives to ensure their own control and relevance.”

“There are few organizations that are promoting wrong thoughts. When I saw the religious leaders here (India) and met them, they showed me a different picture talking about dialogue and peaceful coexistence,” Al-Issa added.

The Muslim World League chief also noted the wrongdoings of some religious leaders, who do not work to promote peaceful coexistence.

He said, “Religious leaders today are …not working to promote understanding. Unlike certain organizations, Indian institutions and leaders I met talked about peace, tolerance and understanding rather than asserting their dominance.”

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India welcomes Muslim World League Secretary

Al-Issa, leading voice of moderation and peace advocacy, during his six-day India visit will be meeting India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval for a one-on-one in the evening….reports Asian Lite News

India on Monday welcomed Muslim World League Secretary General Mohammad Bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa.

“India welcomes leading Saudi Arabia voice of moderation n peace advocacy H.E. Dr Mohammad Abdulkarim Al-Issa @MhmdAlissa SG @MWLOrg n Chairman @The_CRL. The visit shall surely boost, empower voices of faith, reasons n understandings which cherish and celebrate Unity in Diversity,” GaddiNashin-DargahAjmerSharif, Chairman-ChishtyFoundation, Haji Syed Salman Chishty tweeted on Monday. Al-Issa, leading voice of moderation and peace advocacy, during his six-day India visit will be meeting India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval for a one-on-one in the evening.

On July 11, at 11 am, on the invitation of the Khusro Foundation, Al-Issa will address a gathering of prominent religious and community leaders, academics and media at BS Abdur Rahman Auditorium at the India Islamic Cultural Centre.

The National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval shall also address the gathering. Al-Issa will be in India from July 10-15.

As per sources, Al-Issa is expected to meet India’s Minister for External Affairs, S Jaishankar, and Minister for Minority Affairs Smriti Irani, and he may also call on the President of India, Droupadi Murmu.

He will also meet the President of ICCR and interact with a group of distinguished faith leaders at Vivekanand International Foundation. As per sources, he might visit Akshardham Temple and meet some prominent personalities.

During his stay in the national capital, an important part of his engagement will also be the visit to Jama Masjid Delhi for Friday Prayers. He is also scheduled to visit Agra.

Notably, Al-Issa is an Islamic scholar and a leading voice on moderate Islam. He is also a promoter of inter-faith dialogue and world peace.

He is a prominent religious leader, Islamic scholar and reformist from Saudi Arabia. Before being appointed as the Secretary General of the Muslim World League in 2016, Al-Issa served as the Minister of Justice in the Saudi Cabinet.

As the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, an influential non-governmental organization representing Muslims worldwide, Al-Issa has spearheaded initiatives to build partnerships and strengthen relations between diverse communities, faiths, and nations.

He also serves as the chairman of the Centre for Responsible Leadership, a body of globally influential government, faith, media, business, and community leaders working together to solve the challenges facing humanity and the world today. (ANI)

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