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  • 09/19/2018

    The Minister of Islamic Affairs, Da’wah and Guidance Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, admired the generous patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, with the signing of   Jeddah Peace Agreement between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the State of Eritrea to end a two-decade war.

    He stressed that this agreement embodied the well-established and prudent diplomacy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques  and the just Imam king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who supported them with international messages for the leading role and leadership, Which is led by the Kingdom’s leadership in establishing world peace, based on its approach derived from the tolerant Islamic law.

    Dr. Al-Sheikh said that this historic agreement was meant to prove to the world that Saudi Arabia is truly one of the most important pillars of world peace in its wise policy, its efforts and efforts in spreading peace and security, combating violence, hatred and evil, and its permanent pursuit and participation in all regional and international forums.

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  • 09/09/2018

    If you think religion belongs to the past and we live in a new age of reason, you need to check out the facts: 84% of the world’s population identifies with a religious group. Members of this demographic are generally younger and produce more children than those who have no religious affiliation, so the world is getting more religious, not less – although there are significant geographical variations.

    According to 2015 figures, Christians form the biggest religious group by some margin, with 2.3 billion adherents or 31.2% of the total world population of 7.3 billion. Next come Muslims (1.8 billion, or 24.1%), Hindus (1.1 billion, or 15.1%) and Buddhists (500 million, or 6.9%).

    The next category is people who practise folk or traditional religions; there are 400m of them, or 6% of the global total. Adherents of lesser-practised religions, including Sikhism, Baha’i and Jainism, add up to 58m, or well below 1%. There are 14m Jews in the world, about 0.2% of the global population, concentrated in the US and Israel.

    But the third biggest category is missing from the above list. In 2015, 1.2 billion people in the world, or 16%, said they have no religious affiliation at all. This does not mean all those people are committed atheists; some – perhaps most – have a strong sense of spirituality or belief in God, gods or guiding forces, but they don’t identify with or practise an organised religion.

    Almost all religions have subdivisions. Christians can be Roman Catholic (the biggest group with almost 1.3 billion adherents), Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Anglican or many other sub-denominations. Muslims might be Sunni (the majority), Shia, Ibadi, Ahmadiyya or Sufi. Hinduism has four main groups: Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism and Smartism. There are two main traditions in Buddhism – Theravāda and Mahayana, each with subgroups. Jews can be Orthodox (or ultra-Orthodox), Conservative, Reform or belong to smaller groups.

    Geography is important in religion. Asia-Pacific is the most populous region in the world, and also the most religious. It is home to 99% of Hindus, 99% of Buddhists, and 90% of those practising folk or traditional religions. The region also hosts 76% of the world’s religiously unaffiliated people, 700m of whom are Chinese.

    Three-quarters of religious people live in a country where they form a majority of the population; the remaining quarter live as religious minorities. For example, 97% of Hindus live in three Hindu-majority countries: India, Mauritius and Nepal, while 87 %% of Christians live in 157 Christian-majority countries. Three-quarters of Muslims live in Muslim-majority countries. Among the religiously unaffiliated, seven out of 10 live in countries where they are in the majority, including China, the Czech Republic and North Korea.

    In contrast, most Buddhists (72%) live as a minority in their home countries. There are seven countries where Buddhists form the majority of the population: Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

    Which religions are growing, and where?

    The short answer is religion is on the wane in western Europe and North America, and it’s growing everywhere else.

    The median age of the global population is 28. Two religions have a median age below that: Muslims (23) and Hindus (26). Other main religions have an older median age: Christians, 30; Buddhists, 34 and Jews, 36. The religiously unaffiliated come in at 34.

    Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world – more than twice as fast as the overall global population. Between 2015 and 2060, the world’s inhabitants are expected to increase by 32%, but the Muslim population is forecast to grow by 70%. And even though Christians will also outgrow the general population over that period, with an increase of 34% forecast mainly thanks to population growth in sub-Saharan Africa, Christianity is likely to lose its top spot in the world religion league table to Islam by the middle of this century.

    Hindus are set to grow by 27%, and Jews by 15% mainly because of the high birth rate among the ultra-Orthodox. The religiously unaffiliated will see a 3% increase. But proportionately, these religious groupings will be smaller than now because their growth is lower than the increase in the overall global population. And Buddhists are forecast to see a 7% drop in their numbers.

    It’s mainly down to births and deaths, rather than religious conversion. Muslim women have an average of 2.9 children, significantly above the average of all non-Muslims at 2.2. And while Christian women have an overall birth rate of 2.6, it’s lower in Europe where Christian deaths outnumbered births by nearly 6 million between 2010 and 2015. In recent years, Christians have had a disproportionately large share of the world’s deaths (37%).

    And while the religiously unaffiliated currently make up 16% of the global population, only about 10% of the world’s newborns were born to religiously unaffiliated mothers between 2010 and 2015.

    But 23% of American Muslims say they are converts to the faith, and in recent years there has been growing anecdotal evidence of Muslim refugees converting to Christianity in Europe.

    China has seen a huge religious revival in recent years and some predict it will have the world’s largest Christian population by 2030. The number of Chinese Protestants has grown by an average of 10 % annually since 1979, to between 93 million and 115 million, according to one estimate. There are reckoned to be another 10-12 million Catholics.

    In contrast, Christianity is in decline in Western Europe. In Ireland, traditionally a staunchly Catholic country, the proportion of people identifying with Catholicism fell from 84.2% to 78.3% between the two censuses of 2011 and 2016, and down to 54% among people aged between 16 and 29. Those with no religious affiliation increased to 9.8% – a jump of 71.8% in five years.

    In Scotland, another country steeped in religious tradition, a majority of people, 59%, now identify as non-religious – with significantly more women (66%) than men (55%) turning away from organised faith. Seven in 10 people under the age of 44 said they were non-religious; the only age group in which the majority are religiously affiliated is the over-65s.

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  • 09/03/2018

    Jeddah, (UNA-OIC) – The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has launched a project to rehabilitate public utilities in the northern countryside of Aleppo. 
    KSRelief has begun renovating and rehabilitating 495 houses, two shelters and 16 recreation centers in the Syrian governorate.
    The project aims to improve living conditions by providing decent housing, said the Project Manager Malik Al-Wadi.
    KSRelief has also distributed gas cylinders for home cooking to 500 families with widows, orphans and people with special needs in the town of Mara in Aleppo governorate.
    Meanwhile, on Saturday five relief trucks carrying 120 tons of dates provided by KSRelief were sent to Yemen’s Marib governorate. The dates will be distributed to displaced people.
    KSRelief also continued to distribute food baskets to needy families in camps for displaced people in Al-Khawkhah district of Yemen’s Hodeida governorate.
    Earlier, KSRelief General Supervisor Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said that their work is focused on programs to protect women and children, and rehabilitate children recruited by the Houthi militias. 

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  • 08/26/2018

     

    Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, interior minister and chairman of the Supreme Hajj Committee, congratulated King Salman on the success of this year’s Hajj season.
    He congratulated the king on behalf of committee members, regional governors, and personnel of the Interior Ministry and all relevant sectors in this Hajj season.
    The success is due to projects implemented at the holy sites to serve pilgrims and facilitate their performance of Hajj rituals, the prince said.
    The number of pilgrims this year reached 2,371,675, with no incidence of disease epidemics or quarantine cases recorded, he added.

    Today’s Hajj pilgrimage, in many ways, bears little resemblance to its early 20th-century counterpart. Aircraft have, for the most part, replaced sea and rail travel, and in doing so, have transformed Hajj from a months-long multi-site journey into a much more rapid, safe, and fairly direct voyage to Makkah.
    Today, the Makkah Metro is expected to shuttle more than 350,000 pilgrims from Mina to Arafat and back to Mina. That is more than two million pilgrims every day. There are electronic maps equipped with multiple languages to accommodate the diversity of pilgrims, and water supply has improved considerably, as well as waste management, with more than 36,000 restrooms readily available. Thousands of government security officials, emergency services, and volunteers constantly guide pilgrims at every stage of their journey.

    More than 18,000 buses had been in service during the Hajj season, he said, transporting pilgrims in comfort and safety between the holy sites. He added that the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro — overseen by the Public Transport Authority (PTA) along with the Makkah Region Development Authority — was a great success.
    The 450-kilometer Haramain rail service linking Makkah and Madinah with a top speed of more than 300 kmph will be operational by next year’s Hajj season.
    New medical equipment is regularly updated to adapt to the wide range of illnesses and changing environmental factors. Free medical care is provided with more than 100 ICU ambulances, each equipped with a physician, a nurse, and the latest technology on board.
    While many aspects of Hajj have evolved with the times, some traditions have stood the test of time. Pilgrims used to pray on open fields on their Hajj journey, and likewise today, people do not hesitate to pray on the open path. The means of transport may have changed but the commitment to the punctuality of prayer has always endured. While larger in numbers, and many tents are now equipped with air-conditioning, Saudi Arabia has maintained this aspect of Islamic heritage. During Hajj, the “Kiswa,” made of pure silk with gold and silver threads that drape over the Kaaba, is annually replaced and folded up about 10 feet to protect it from harsh weather conditions, as well as overcrowding during the peak days of Hajj. To this day, this practice is maintained to prevent the cover of Kaaba from suffering any damage.
    Throughout the 20th century, and still to this day, Makkah is constantly going through changes. The biggest is the expansion of the Holy Mosque itself, but many advancements have been made in the form of logistics, hospitality, security, and medical care. Some traditions and methods, however, have remained the same. A balance of tradition and progression that has the Saudi government recognizing Islamic customs while taking into consideration pilgrims’ primary needs of safety and security.

     

     

     

     

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  • 08/16/2018

    Dr Mustafa Ceric member of KEP participated in MAJOR HAJJ CONFERENCE taking place in Makkaha, on  Zu-l-hijjah 4-5, 1439/August 15-16, 2018) under the THEME:

     THE HONOUR OF TIME AND PLACE IN TRANQUILITY AND SECURITY

    Dr Ceric presnted a paper

    “AL- ḤAJJ –  THE UNITY OF HEARTS” in which he said it is a great honour for me to stand here in this city of which Allah Almighty has said: – I swear by this city (of Mecca) you are free in this city! (And I swear by) the father and by the one who was born (of him) that (you should know) that We have created man to be working hard. (al-Balad, 1:4).

     

    Is there a greater honour than this honour to stand in this city where the father was born, where the mother was born, and where her son was born to be sent by his Lord “as a witness, as a bearer of good tidings and as a warner of bad tidings, calling unto God by His leave, and as a light-giving lamp”, (al-Aḥzāb, 45-46); but also “Allah has sent him as His Prophet with a guidance and the faith of truth to unveil it over all religions despite the hatred of idolators, (al-Tawbah, 33); indeed, Allah Almighty has sent him as “a mercy to all the worlds”. (al-Anbiyāʼ, 108); yes, indeed, Allah Almighty has revealed to his Messenger the fact that “this Ummah is One Ummah and that I am your Lord so worship Me only” (al-Muʼminūn, 52).

     

    Is there a greater generosity than this generosity to sit at this hospitable table under the honourable auspices and sovereignty of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques the King Salman bin Abdu-l-Aziz Al Saud – may  Allah protect him –  who is known in Bosnia to be always in the service of the Tow Holy Mosques and in the service of those who are visiting these holy place. We are familiar with the fact that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques work hard for the unity among the Muslims all over the world from the East to the West and from the North to the South.

    Dr Ceric added There is no doubt, the word of Allah’s Oneness (“كلمة التوحيد”) “There is no god but Allah” (لا إله إلاّ الله” ”) is the basic of our primordial true faith that leads us to a salvation and the Unification of Word (“توحيد الكلمة”) “Hold fact altogether to the Rope of Allah and do not depart from each other”, (Āl Imrān, 103),  is a basic precondition for the continuity and stability of our perpetual strength, honour and sovereignty as Muslims. This is exactly what we have been told by Allah Almighty: – O People who Believe! Be aware of Allah in the true manner He deserves to be on your mind, and do not die except as Muslims”, (Āl Imrān, 102), and the prerequisite for this is your holding fast together to the Rope of Allah without exception and your avoidance of a departure from each other without hesitation.

    He concluded his speech saying  the conclusion is that when the row (“ṣaff”) of Muslims becomes strong and straight as it is at the time of Arafāt, as it is during al-ifāah around the Kaʿbah in Mecca, and as it is at the alāat al-Masjid al-arām, then the the Ummah will be victorious everywhere. Then, its voice will be heard and its peace and safety will be guaranteed all the time and everywhere.  This is the message from this Major Ḥajj Conference in Mecca under the honourable auspices and sovereignty of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques the King Salman bin Abdu-l-Aziz Al Saud – may  Allah protect him – and this is a call to all Muslims around the world to keep in their hearts and their minds the word of tawīd, i.e., the Oneness of Allah and the tawīd of the word, i.e., the unity of the purpose of the One Ummah that is devoted to the worship of One God. By doing so, the Ummah will prosper and will reach out its noble goal of worshiping One God and keeping its peace and security everywhere, Allah willing.

     

     

     

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  • 08/02/2018

    The International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) has expanded its support to the Central African Republic Interfaith Platform by assisting with the establishment of 16 local offices covering every prefecture in the country. With an initial focus on half of those offices, KAICIID’s Senior Adviser Patrice Brodeur trained 26 Catholic, Protestant and Muslim religious leaders, who gathered in Bangui from 25-29 June 2018, and who will also receive financial support to cover their operational costs for the next 12 months.
    The eight cities, Alindao, Bambari, Bangasou, Bangui, Berberati, Kaga-Bandoro, Mbaiki, and N’dele were selected for the first training, and a second training for the rest of the regions will be conducted in 2019. After the trainings, the religious leaders will replicate countrywide the Bangui-based secretariat’s Interfaith Platform structure – consisting of three members, each one representing a different religious denomination. The central platform’s leaders are Reverend Guerekoyame Gbngou, president of the evangelic community, Imam Kobine Layama, president of the Islamic community, and Monsignor Dieudonne Nzapalainga, the Archbishop of Bangui.
    During the training, participants not only learned about IRD tools that can be applied in their communities, but also had the opportunity to meet and interact with other religious leaders, exchanging knowledge and experiences. The training was based on the KAICIID CAR Intercommunal Dialogue Facilitation Manual, developed in 2017 and further updated to respond to the country’s needs.
    “I greatly appreciate the participants’ efforts to travel from their localities to Bangui to participate in this training. Whoever hears their testimonials is left speechless in admiration. The kind of work they are doing is incredibly brave and awe inspiring”, Agustin Nuñez, Programe Manager for CAR said.
    “The methodology followed by KAICIID and its established interreligious platform is remarkable because they invited people and touched problems that affect the entire country, from the capital to the smallest township. It is a completely different approach to others that support mainly the vision of a single group. Here I have seen participants from different confessions, religions and ethnicities. Please, keep investing your time to replicate this kind of trainings,” one participant said.
    KAICIID in partnership with the OIC and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers will support the organization of the General Assembly of the Central African Muslim Committee to further unity within that religious community.

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  • 07/24/2018

    Participants at the Education Forum called for the promotion of moderation , which concluded yesterday, urged to continue to organize regional seminars within and outside the Islamic world on promoting education on moderation among imams, religious guides and preachers.
    They recommended working on the preparation and publication of studies and research based on the central approach in the fields of education, culture, thought and other forms of Islamic discourse and translated into live languages.
    The participants in the meeting held by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) at its headquarters in Rabat during the period from 18 to 20 July 2018, emphasize the importance of organizing global forums for dialogue between different trends and cultures with the participation of a group of intellectuals and experts to introduce the culture of the moderation of Islam. They also called for the rehabilitation of the ancient scientific institutions that graduated scholars and religious authorities (preachers, imams, guides …) by developing them and reviewing their curricula and their relevance to the times.
    The revival of the jurisprudence of the coalition as an input to promote the values ​​of moderation at a time when the projects of fragmentation and sectarian religious and ethnic groups are more threatening to the entity of the nation
    And to review the approach to dealing with our jurisprudential and scientific heritage; and to consolidate and the principle of citizenship as a constitutional principle that reflects the depth of the values of moderation in organizing the relationship of Muslims with others. They also considered the protection of the homeland as a legitimate destination and a realistic necessity, such as the protection of religions to prevent the chaos that could erupt in the Islamic world because of the fall of countries and national entities, and to address the problem of shaking the idea of citizenship and the unrealistic ideas of the mechanisms of the unification of Muslims.

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  • 07/12/2018

    The Advisor of the Minister of Islamic Affairs and Supervisor of the Knowledge Exchange Program met with the Charge d’Affaires of the New Zealand Embassy in Riyadh Sam O’Connor. At the beginning of the meeting, the Charge d’Affaires conveyed the greetings of the New Zealand Ambassador and wished he would have been present. For his part, Dr. Al-Lhaidan conveyed the greetings of His Excellency the Minister of Islamic Affairs and Guidance Dr. Abdul Latif Al-Sheikh to the Ambassador and expressed his constant welcome to contact the friendly New Zealand Embassy. Dr. al Lheedan explain that the ministry’s relations with the religious studies departments in the universities. Al-Lhaidan said that the ministry has a specialized program for relations with the academic centers, which is a knowledge exchange program that has already held seminars to clarify, the true image of Islam and the moderate approach of Saudi, in international universities such as Oxford in Britain and Bologna in Italy and Peking University in China. The program welcomes such seminars and joint activities. Which aims to advocate coexistence between followers of religions with New Zealand universities. The charge d’affaires welcomed the role played by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Guidance to promote moderation and tolerance in the Islamic world and other countries.

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