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Latest News
  • 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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  • 07/09/2018

    Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican diplomat and expert in interfaith relations who announced the election of Pope Francis to the world in 2013 with the famous phrase “habemus papam (we have a pope),” has died.
    The Vatican said Tauran died Thursday at age 75. He had been in the United States, seeking treatment for Parkinson’s disease. He had the condition for years, but continued his globe-trotting diplomacy to improve the Vatican’s relations with the Muslim world.
    In an unusually personal condolence message sent to Tauran’s sister Friday, Francis praised the cardinal’s “courageous” years of service to the Catholic Church “despite the weight of illness.”
    Francis said the French-born Tauran was a “counselor who was listened to and appreciated,” particularly in predominantly Muslim parts of the world. It was a reference to Tauran’s tireless efforts to mend fences after Pope Benedict XVI gave a 2006 speech about Islam and violence that offended many Muslims.
    Tauran, who was born in Bordeaux, served in various Vatican embassies before being named chief Vatican archivist, foreign minister and then prefect of the Vatican office of interfaith relations. He made headlines in 2002 when he fiercely opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, calling it “a defeat for all humanity.”
    As “protodeacon” of the College of Cardinals, Tauran emerged on the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica on the rainy night of March 13, 2013, to announce Francis’ election. Shaking from the effects pf Parkinson’s, Tauran pronounced the Latin words with a strong, clear voice and revealed to the world that the Catholic Church had its first pope named Francis.
    Francis later appointed Tauran as camerlengo, the symbolically important official who runs the Vatican during the period between the death or resignation of one pope and the election of another.
    In his condolence note, Francis said he named Tauran to the position “because of his service to and love for the church.”
    Other condolences came from the World Jewish Congress, which praised Tauran’s efforts to build “bridges of understanding, tolerance and mutual respect” among Catholics, Jews and Muslims.
    “Cardinal Tauran truly lived the message that he preached, demonstrating absolute faith in humanity’s ability to coexist and thrive together, denouncing radicalism and ignorance while embracing people of all faiths and backgrounds,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said.

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  • 07/05/2018

    KEP has published the third issue of KEP Magazine. This issue of the Magazine main subject is: Islamic Ethics and Peaceful Coexistence. The issue include many articles the first is: Law, Ethics And Peaceful Coexistence In Islam by Dr. Abdullah bin Fahad Al-Lheedan Advisor to the Minister and Supervisor of the program. The second is: Peaceful coexistence from the perspective of Islamic faith by: Prof. Adel Bin Ali Al-Shadi
    Advisor in the knowledge exchange Program.

    The third article is: The stages of Islamic studies in Western universities By Dr. Mazen Mutbakani.The issue include another essay by: Dr. Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Zahrani Chief Executive Officer of the Institutional Transformation Unit ” Digital Transformation And E-Government”. Finally the issue has a section for reports about KEP main activities during the last six months.

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  • 07/02/2018

    When an imam in Nigeria saw hundreds of desperate, frightened families running into his village last Saturday, he decided to risk his life to save theirs.
    They were fleeing from a neighboring village – a mainly Christian community.
    They say they came under attack at about 15:00 (14:00 GMT) from about 300 well-armed men – suspected cattle herders, who are mostly Muslims – who started shooting sporadically and burning down their homes.
    Some of those who managed to escape ran towards the mainly Muslim neighborhood nearby where the imam lived, arriving over the next hour.
    The cleric immediately came to their aid, hiding in total 262 men, women and children in his home and mosque.
    “I first took the women to my personal house to hide them. Then I took the men to the mosque,” the imam told BBC Pidgin.
    We have blurred the faces of the imam and the villages, for their own safety.
    This was the latest wave of violence to hit Nigeria’s central region where farming communities and nomadic cattle herders often clash – usually over access to land and grazing rights.
    The region is prone to religious tension – herders are ethnic Fulani and mostly Muslim, while the farmers are mostly Christian from the Berom ethnic group.
    Hundred of people have been killed in 2018, and the tit-for-tat violence has been ongoing for several years. A report from 2016 suggested Nigeria’s pastoral conflict was the cause of more deaths that year than Boko Haram.
    Had the imam not intervened, the death toll may have been much higher, as the armed men stormed into the mainly Muslim village in pursuit of those who had fled the mainly Christian village nearby.
    One of the villagers described the panicked scenes, saying: “First they attacked a village before us so we ran to the security post.
    “But then they started firing towards the security post so we all ran away – even the security personnel.”
    When the attackers heard that the villagers had fled towards the mosque, they demanded that the imam bring out those he was hiding.
    But the defenseless imam refused to comply – and also refused to allow them entry to the mosque.
    He began to plead with the herdsmen, who were threatening to burn down the mosque and his house.
    He then prostrated himself on the floor in front of the armed men.
    Along with some others in the Muslim community, he began to cry and wail, asking them to leave.
    And to their amazement the herdsmen did go – but then set two nearby churches on fire.

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  • 07/01/2018

    HE Sheikh Abdul Latif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, Minister of Islamic Affairs, affirmed that the the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud has a keen interest in maintaining security and stability and the consolidation of values ​​of tolerance. The king support for this reflects Saudi Arabia’s wise policy on all issues of concern to Muslims, and the world, and contributes to the bonds of brotherhood among peoples. It also contributes to the rejection of division and differences that cause wars and loss of life, and the spread of chaos and destruction.
    Dr. Al-Sheikh stressed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Highness the Crown Prince, has been and continues to be a leader in spreading peace and security and supporting all the values of tolerance and love among peoples in different countries of the world. Especially the brothers in the Islamic countries, indicating that the Kingdom has been decades of making precious and noble actions in order to maintain security and the dissemination of international peace.
    The Minister of Islamic Affairs, Da’wah and Guidance ask Allah to safe the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Highness the Crown Prince, and to make good on Islam and Muslims and to safeguard the Kingdom’s security and stability.

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  • 06/24/2018

    Since Islam is firmly rooted in the Divine revelation, the glorious Quran, the Sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him) and the consequences of the venerable ancestors (Salaf-Saliheen) it can withstand any intellectual and philosophical challenge.
    Allah has taken it upon Himself to preserve the message of Islam “We have indeed revealed the message and We shall protect it“ (Al Hijr: 9).
    The question we must now ask is what strategies need to be adopted for successful adaptation in the West?
    Allah has always blessed the Muslims by giving them spiritual leaders(Ulama) who have given them guidance and direction. These Ulama have tackled the problems and challenges faced by the Ummah. These people have made serious attempts to guide the Ummah and have proposed practical steps. The five point plan discussed below is my understanding of the thoughts of these people. I have had personal contact with most of them and others. I have also read their works and amongst them are traditional Alims and Sufis as well as sociologists, philosopher and educationalists. Each one focusing on his own field. I have distilled their thoughts in the following five point plan. These are real strategies which the Muslims have already adopted to varying degrees of success and intensity.
    1. Coming to terms with a pluralist society:
    The contemporary western society is characterised by heterogeneity in its structure, thought and beliefs, it is a truly multicultural, multifaith and a melting pot of all sorts of weird and wonderful philosophies. Muslims need to fully engage in a dialogue with this host society, through understanding it as well as challenging its premises. At the same time the Muslim community needs to understand itself too, for it no longer is a monolithic and homogenous community. There is an urgent need for intra-community dialogue between various factions and groups of Muslims. This exchange of views will lead to a stronger Muslim community. The formation of several Umbrella organisations like the Union of Muslim Organisation are steps towards this end.
    2. Being organised and establishing institutions:
    There are many thousands of sincere and hardworking individuals throughout the West who are working day and night for the deen of Allah. However their individual works are not bearing the fruits that one would like, why? My humble opinion is that it is due to a lack of organisation. When two or three people work as a team then it is not simply an arithmetic addition but a synergistic effect, in other words the work of three individuals working as a team maybe equivalent to five or six people or even more. There are thousands of Muslim organisations which need to be better managed.
    3. Participating in the life of the wider society and becoming good citizens:
    This is vitally important if we are not to become marginalised and exchanged. What this means is accepting the burden of being responsible citizens, caring for the whole community Muslim and non-Muslim.
    4. Re-establishing the traditional Islamic Educational system:
    A succinct definition of education is “being done to.” When children are being educated something is being done to them. What is that something? The western education system is brilliant in producing technocrats and imparting technical skills, however it is poorly equipped to nurture basic human characteristics of compassion, generosity, love and seeking truth. Yet for a Muslim it is the latter that is very important. Due to this impoverished western curriculum Muslims must establish their own educational system which takes a holistic approach to child development. This Islamic educational system can take different forms, the full time Muslim school is the ideal way but this will not be possible everywhere, another means would be evening Quranic classes and weekend tutorial classes.
    5. Strengthening the family unit:
    The family unit is fast crumbling due to the pressures of a permissive and consumer based society. Sexual perversion coupled with skewed feminism is fast eroding traditional family values. Muslim families are also feeling the shockwaves but on the whole the second and third generations of Muslims in the West wish to maintain the family unit. Muslims will have to work very hard to preserve the family unit. But this is the most sure way of survival in the West. By Musharraf Husain

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  • 06/06/2018

    A high-level Myanmar and international multi-religious delegation presented to the peoples of Myanmar a vision of peace and development.

    An open letter to the peoples of Myanmar invites them to recall the inherent virtues of their society expressed during the great Nargis disasters. During that time the letter notes, “Buddhist monks saved affected people in all villages, Christian humanitarian agencies distributed aid to those suffering beyond their ethnic and religious boundaries, and Hindu, Muslim and other groups were united to help one another to alleviate the suffering of their fellow country men and women. Compassion and common living are the fundamental values and virtues of the peoples of Myanmar, and unity in diversity is the strength of this nation.”

    The letter continues: “We must together prepare our children for the responsibility of maintaining and unfolding this vision. To teach the youngest members of society about the beauty of multi-religious coexistence and the virtue of compassion to carry this vision forward into our shared future is a collective goal shared by all peoples of faith and good will.”

    The letter rejects the misuse of religion and race to divide the people of Myanmar, which goes against the fundamental tenets of the world’s religious traditions and brings hatred, discrimination and violence.

    In response to the situation in Rakhine State, the letter notes: “We encourage the Union Government to take full responsibility for a thorough and transparent investigation into multiple crimes perpetrated in Rakhine State and elsewhere. We urge the Union Government to include in this effort the entire population such as the Rakhine, Myo, That, Dynet, Kamen and Hindu.”

    The delegation offered their multi-religious solidarity and accompaniment as a track 1.5 mediation for humanitarian response and peace building in Rakhine State, as well as in other ethnic conflict situations. The letter stated: “In search for a solution based upon human dignity and shared well-being and from the perspectives of global responsibility sharing, we call for an international conference with concerned States, United Nations, ICRC and other relevant international actors to address the critical humanitarian issues facing Myanmar.

    This includes vulnerability of those living within Rakhine State, those suffering in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, and those desiring dignified and safe return to the places they know to be their homes in Myanmar. We call for the exploration of global sharing schemes. The proposed international conference should also address the suffering of people affected by other internal conflicts, including displaced populations from the most recent escalation of armed conflicts in Kachin and Shah States.”

    Following the meetings in both closed and public sessions for two days in Yangon, the delegation is currently in Nay Pyi Taw to meet with H.E. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on 25 May 2018 to deliver a final statement. Select representatives from national and international delegations will visit Sittwe and Maundaw, Rakhine State, on 26-28 May 2018 to observe the current situation and engage in dialogue with key local stakeholders.

    Myanmar National Delegates included H.E. Cardinal Charles Bo [Patron, Religions for Peace Myanmar], Archbishop of Yangon; Sayadaw U Naryaka, Faundaw Oo Sayadaw; Venerable Ariya Wun Tha Bhiwun Sa (Myawaddy Sayardaw), Abbot, Myawaddy Mingyi Monastery in Mandalay; U Myint Swe [President, Religions for Peace Myanmar], President, Ratana Metta Organization; Grand Mufti U Ko Lay [Patron, Religions for Peace Myanmar], Grand Mufti, Suratee Jamia Masjid; Al Haj U Aye Lwin [Founding Member, Religions for Peace Myanmar], Chief Convener, the Islamic Center of Myanmar; Daw Yin Yin Maw [Religions for Peace Myanmar Women of Faith Network], Former President, Myanmar Council of Churches, Chair; Rev. Father Joseph Maung Win [Secretary General, Religions for PeaceMyanmar], Head of the Office of Yangon Archdiocesan Commission for Ecumenism and Interfaith; and U San Min Naing [EC Member, Religions for PeaceMyanmar], Core Member, Peaceful Myanmar Initiative (PMI). The International Delegates included The Most. Ven. Kotugoda Dhammawasa Thera, Sadharama Keerthi Sri Tripitaka Visharadha Aggamaha Panditha; Supreme Patriarch of Amarapura Nikaya (Theravada Buddhism), Sri Lanka; The Most Ven. Tep Vong [Co-President, Religions for Peace International], Great Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia (Theravada Buddhism), Cambodia; Rev. Nichiko Niwano [Honorary President, Religions for Peace International], President, Rissho Kosei-Kai Mahayana Buddhism), Japan; Prof. Dr. Din Syamsuddin [Moderator, Religions for Peace Asia], Special Envoy of President of Indonesia for Inter-faith and Inter-civilizational Dialogue and Cooperation; Chairman, Advisory Forum of Indonesian Ulema Council (Islam), Indonesia; Dr. Vinu Aram [Co-Moderator, Religions for Peace International], Director, Shanti Ashram (Hinduism), India; Bishop Gunnar Stalsett [Honorary President, Religions for Peace International], Bishop Emeritus of Oslo (Christian), Norway; and Rev. Kyoichi Sugino [Deputy Secretary General,Religions for Peace International].

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  • 04/19/2018

    King Salman received at his office at Al-Yamamah palace in Riyadh the Chairman of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue at the Vatican, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and his accompanying delegation.
    During the meeting, they stressed the important role of followers of religions and cultures in renouncing violence, extremism, terrorism and achieving worldwide security and stability.
    The meeting was also attended by Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, Minister of Interior, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir.
    Tauran arrived on Friday in a historic visit to the kingdom, which hosts Islam’s holiest sites.
    He was hosted on Tuesday by Riyadh-based Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, or Etidal, which showed its work in combating extremist ideology.
    Etidal, Arabic for “moderation”, is an effort by the international community to expose, combat and refute extremist ideology, said Etidal Secretary-General Nasir Al-Biqami told the delegation.
    The center was established in 2017 and located in Riyadh, the cooperative effort of more than 55 countries.
    Albugami said the center operates mainly around three pivots — ideology, technology and media. He said Etidal uses media and technology to “disrupt extremist recruitment and promote tolerance and coexistence amongst different religions and cultures.”
    “Etidal has designed machine learning systems and algorithms to detect violent and extremist on-line content. We analyze this content and then anticipate how extremist groups use this content to recruit vulnerable audiences. To counter these efforts, we devise strategic programs and projects that encourage tolerance and moderation,” Al-Biqami said in a statement.
    Clash of ignorance
    Following the visit, Cardinal Tauran commented, “It’s important to see that Etidal has a mission and a vision. The Center is very wise to analyze the causes of extremism. Most of the time, extremism is provoked by injustice.”
    “I think we have two enemies: extremism and ignorance. I don’t believe in the clash of civilization but rather in the clash of ignorance. Most of the time people react because they don’t know who you are or who they are,” said Tauran, who is seen as an energetic promoter of dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and Islam.
    Al-Biqami said Tauran’s visit represents the importance of partnership and cooperation in the fight against extremist ideologies.
    Saudi leaders have met with a flurry of representatives of various Christian traditions in recent months.
    In November, the head of Lebanon’s Maronite church, Beshara Rai, met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a historic visit to Riyadh.
    The prince also met a group of Jewish and Catholic leaders in a recent visit to New York, which highlighted a show of interfaith dialogue.
    Crown Prince Mohammed has sought to project a moderate image of Islam amid rising “Islamophobia” in the West, where the world’s second biggest religion is often associated with jihadist ideology and subjugating women.
    He announced the lifting of a ban on women driving and has authorized cinemas for the first time in over three decades as part of social reforms under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program.

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