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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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  • 04/15/2018

    British Prime Minister Theresa May urged British lawmakers to stand up against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the U.K, according to media reports.
    Speaking at the House of Commons in a final weekly question session before the Easter recess, Theresa said hate crime should not be a part of British society.
    “I think there should be a very clear message from all of us in this House [of Commons], that there is no place for racial hatred, for hate crime in our society,” May said, responding to a question by Conservative MP Peter Bottomley.
    “They should not be a part of our society, whether it is Islamophobia or anti-Semitism,” she added.
    “This is something we should all stand up against and do our best to eradicate from our society,” she said.
    May’s response came amidst anti-Semitism allegations directed at the Labour Party and in the run-up to a so-called ‘Punish a Muslim Day,’ advertised in anonymous letters sent to British Muslims across the country.
    A group of around 500 people held a protest in front of the British parliament on Monday, accusing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn of “siding with anti-Semites.”
    The Labour leader had issued an apology on Sunday night, saying, “I recognize that anti-Semitism has surfaced within the Labour Party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples.”
    British counter-terrorism police have in the meantime launched a probe into a hate letter calling for acts of violence against Muslims earlier this month.
    The letter, announcing a so-called “Punish a Muslim Day” on April 3, calls on people to attack Muslims in the form of verbal abuse or physical assault, such as by removing a woman’s hijab or headscarf, or by throwing acid on them.
    The counter-terrorism police said it had received reports of “potentially malicious communications sent to individuals across the U.K..”
    The letter shows a scale of “points” based on the action taken against Muslims, AA reported.
    “There will be rewards based on action taken,” the letter says.
    The hate letter urges terrorist acts to “butcher a Muslim using a gun, knife, vehicle or otherwise,” and “burn or bomb a mosque.”
    Tell MAMA, a group tracking anti-Muslim hate crime in the U.K. said the letter “has caused quite a lot of fear within the community.”
    Also in March, four high-profile Muslim MPs received suspicious packages that contained a noxious substance, according to police.
    One staff member was also hospitalized after coming into contact with the substance, and the MPs’ offices were later cordoned off by police.
    May previously condemned the targeting of Muslim lawmakers who were sent noxious packages and copies of an Islamophobic “Punish a Muslim Day” letter.

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  • 04/08/2018

    KEP Participated in 1st International Conference on Islamic Studies

    The knowledge Exchange Program participated in the 1st International Conference on Islamic Studies organized by University College Beadier
    Tirana, Albania on April 5, 2018. Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Grand mufti Emeritus of Bosnia and Kep Advisory Commission Chairman gave a speech in the conference. And here is the text of that speech:

    I am honored by the invitation of the Rector of the University College Bedër in Tirana Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Gjana to attend this 1st international conference on Islamic Studies with a very challenging topic: Challenges of Muslims in 21st Century Society. And I am challenged to speak about the Muslim challenge of this age.
    I am pleased by the presence of Grand Mufti of Albany here with us today H. E. Skënder Bruçaj, who fulfilled his promise a year or so ago in Abu Dhabi that he will invite me to Tirana. And here I am very grateful to have the opportunity to meet my brothers and colleagues in the Balkans and to speak with them about the Muslim challenges of our times. Thus, here I am as to witness the fulfillment of the promise of the Grand Mufti of Albania, who has already earned a great respect in the Muslim world as much as the great Albanian hero of the 20th century Shaikh Sabri Khoja, who deserves to be remembered not only as a hero of Albania, but also as a hero of the Balkans and the Muslim world as a whole for his human and Muslim faith perseverance in difficult times of the absence of religious freedom in the Balkans. /Al-Fatiha/.
    It goes without saying that its is extremely important that we Muslims in the Balkans meet often to discusses our Islamic affairs and to be good example in promoting the faith of Islam in a truly reasonable way. The Albanians and Bosnians are not only the indigenous nation in the Balkans but also in Europe. Therefore, we have the right and duty to be on the frontrunners in explaining and defending the true meaning of Islam and the true nature of Muslims in the world. This is what the Muslim word expect from us to do and this is what Europe is waiting to hear from us to say our word about our inalienable human rights as we are trying to find our right place in the Balkan and European societies. We should invite our brothers from the Muslim world to explain our situation here, but also to give our important contribution to a betterment of the image of Islam and Muslims in the world. I speak here in the capacity of the Advisory Commission Chairman of the Knowledge Exchange Program with the headquarter in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as well and I can say that our work in promoting the way of Wasatiyyah and tolerance of Islam is very appreciated by all people in the Muslim world who are committed to spreading the desirable peace and security in the world.
    So, let me begin my presentation today by saying that, perhaps, I am not entirely eligible for the task you have delegate it to me today, but, for sure, the task is entirely a daunting one not only on me but also on all Muslims who are nowadays politically responsible and morally sensitive. Indeed, Islam and Muslims are in focus today, rightly or wrongly, more than any other world faith and faithful group not only in the world media but also in the world academia, politics and general public. As Shiraz Maher has observed, the Graeme Wood’s essay for The Atlantic in February 2015, titled “What ISIS Really Wants”was an instant success. It was the most read article in The Atlantic’s almost 160-year history and was the most read digital story of 2015 – receiving more than one million page views the day it was published. Some Muslim protagonists see this phenomenon of interest in Islamic affairs as a divine providence based on the Prophet Muhammad’s Hadith that this religion, meaning Islam, will reach everywhere in the world.
    عَنْ تَمِيمٍ الدَّارِيِّ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَيَبْلُغَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرُ مَا بَلَغَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَلَا يَتْرُكُ اللَّهُ بَيْتَ مَدَرٍ وَلَا وَبَرٍ إِلَّا أَدْخَلَهُ اللَّهُ هَذَا الدِّينَ بِعِزِّ عَزِيزٍ أَوْ بِذُلِّ ذَلِيلٍ عِزًّا يُعِزُّ اللَّهُ بِهِ الْإِسْلَامَ وَذُلًّا يُذِلُّ اللَّهُ بِهِ الْكُفْرَ. 16509 مسند أحمد.
    Tameem Ad-Dari reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: – This matter will certainly reach every place touched by the night and day. Allah will not leave a house or residence but cause this religion to enter it, and the honorable will be honored and the disgraceful will be disgraced. Allah will honor the honorable with Islam, and Allah will disgrace the disgraceful with unbelief.
    The staunch Muslim protagonists interpret this Hadith in the light of a unique worth of Islamic message which cannot but be noticed by everyone regardless of his/her attitudes towards it. These people say that the news about Islam through the major world media, regardless whether it be positive or negative, is a proof that Islam is worth of a serious attention of those who are friendly to it to strengthen their faith in it, while those who are unfriendly to it are being exposed to it to be acquainted with it despite their adversarial attitudes toward it. This reasoning is strange, but it is present in the minds of those who cannot accept that Islam is by any means wrong even if it appears to some that there is something wrong because of the acts of violence by some irresponsible groups who claim to act in the name of Islam or in the name of Allah. Those who have stung belief in Islam cannot have any doubt in the goodness, righteousness and tolerance of their faith of Islam. This conviction of a tolerant Islam is like a myth that cannot be eliminated from their conscience.
    However, there are some Muslim antagonists who are frightened by an apocalyptic prediction of another Prophetic Hadith:
    حَدَّثَنَا الْوَلِيدُ ، وَرِشْدِينُ ، عَنِ ابْنِ لَهِيعَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِي قَبِيلٍ ، عَنْ أَبِي رُومَانَ ، عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ : ” إِذَا رَأَيْتُمُ الرَّايَاتِ السُّودَ فَالْزَمُوا الْأَرْضَ فَلَا تُحَرِّكُوا أَيْدِيَكُمْ ، وَلَا أَرْجُلَكُمْ ، ثُمَّ يَظْهَرُ قَوْمٌ ضُعَفَاءُ لَا يُؤْبَهُ لَهُمْ ، قُلُوبُهُمْ كَزُبَرِ الْحَدِيدِ ، هُمْ أَصْحَابُ الدَّوْلَةِ ، لَا يَفُونَ بِعَهْدٍ وَلَا مِيثَاقٍ ، يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْحَقِّ وَلَيْسُوا مِنْ أَهْلِهِ ، أَسْمَاؤُهُمُ الْكُنَى ، وَنِسْبَتُهُمُ الْقُرَى ، وَشُعُورُهُمْ مُرْخَاةٌ كَشُعُورِ النِّسَاءِ ، حَتَّى يَخْتَلِفُوا فِيمَا بَيْنَهُمْ ، ثُمَّ يُؤْتِي اللَّهُ الْحَقَّ مَنْ يَشَاءُ )رواه نعيم بن حماد رحمه الله في ” كتاب الفتن ” (573).

    When you see the black flags, stay where you are, don’t move your hands or your feet, and when some miserable people appear to you do not pay attention to them, their hearts are like the iron of the iron, they pretend that they are the owners of the state, but they do not abide by a covenant or a contract, they claim the truth but they don’t behold it. They have nicknames and their backgrounds are rural, their feeling is soft as the feeling of women, so much so that they disagree with each other very easily, but, then God will give the whole truth to whomever he wants.

    The staunch Muslim antagonists against extremists are applying this Hadith to contemporary extreme groups within the Muslim societies. Indeed, the Muslims who believe in an inclusive Islam are extremely embarrassed by the acts of violence, terror and intolerance in the name of Islam, but they are unable to stop these extreme protagonists who claim to be Muslims, but whose real identical background is unclear except that they act in the name of Islam or in the name of Allah.

    It seems we are faced with an unprecedented phenomenon of the actors of violence on the global scene where no one knows their real identity or some know who they are but hide them because they must hide their own identities which, if somehow discovered, might be used against them in such a way to show the real actors behind this bloody circus on the world stage which is being labeled to Islam and Muslims around the world, and which is insane, stupid, silly, idiotic, and mindless.

    No, I am not seeking any excuse for any one. I just wanted to bring about these two Hadiths as an illustration of the state of Muslim situation today in terms of two opposite viewpoints about the present image of Islam and the present position of the Muslims in today’s world: one is missionary optimistic and the other is apocalyptically pessimistic. As I said, reading the first Hadith, the missionary optimistic people believe that the very talk or debate worldwide about Islam, whether positively or negatively, is a fulfillment of the Prophetic promise that Islam will reach every household on this planet, while those Muslims who are pessimist about the state of Islam in the world today read the second Hadith as a sign of a menace of the Muslim world, nay, of the future of Islamic civilization as a whole.

    Indeed, the Muslims are today before an Islamic civilizational challenge which is unprecedented in their entire history. Should I remind you of the fact that Islamic civilization is still a living civilization by a relevant account of Matthew Melko who made the total twelve world civilizations in history: “seven of which have vanished (Mesopotamian, Egyption, Cretan, Classical, Byzantine, Middle American, Andean) and five of which still remain (Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Islamic, Western)”. And, as Niall Ferguson, quoted: “Shmuel Eisenstadt counted six by adding Jewish civilization to the club”. Furthermore, Ferguson pointed out that: “The interaction of these few civilizations with one another, as much as with their own environments, has been among the most important drivers of historical change. The striking thing about these interactions is that authentic civilizations seem to remain true unto themselves for very long periods, despite outside influences. As Fernand Braudel put it: Civilization is in fact the longest story of all… A civilization … can persist through a series of economies or societies”.

    It is in the context of these interactions of these authentic civilizations that I would like to bring to our discussion one of “the most dangerous philosopher in the West” (Adam Kirsch, New Republic), a Hegelian philosopher, Lacanian psychoanalyst, and political activist Slavoj Žižek, who is “wanted” by his opponents because of his insistence on the European roots of the project of universal emancipation; of his critique of the elevation of refugees and immigrants into a new form of global proletariat; of his insistence on the problems of cultural identity; of his doubts about some ideological components of the LGBT + movement, and of his support for the ‘fascist’ Donald Trump, as he said . Žižek’s sharp eye sees what many people don’t see, and I would say what some Muslims don’t see today and that is that we, as Muslims, don’t live in an isolated island. On the contrary, we are, indeed, part and parcel of living in a great global world, to which we have contributed a lot to be as it is today. Thus, we, as Muslims, are both a part of the problem and a part of the solution of this global world. It is upon us to choose which part of these two parts, problem or solution, we want to be. I believe that the Muslim world majority want to be the key part of the solution and not even a bit of the problem. So, when Žižek says that the only true question today is: – Do we endorse the predominant acceptance of capitalism as a fact of (human) nature, or does today’s global capitalism contain strong enough antagonisms to prevent its indefinite reproduction? – I feel that me as a Muslim am part of this question too. And I am part of his four such antagonisms as well:

    (I) the commons of culture in the broadest sense, of ‘immaterial’ capital: the immediately socialized forms of ‘cognitive’ capital, primarily language, our means of communication and education, not to mention the financial sphere with the absurd consequence of uncontrolled virtual money circulation;

    (2) the commons of external nature, threatened by human pollution: all particular dangers – global warming, dying of the oceans, etc.- are aspects of a derailment of the entire life reproduction system on earth;

    (3) the commons of internal nature (the biogenetic inheritance of humanity): with the new biogenetic technology, the creation of a New Man in the literal sense of changing human nature becomes a realistic prospect;

    (4) the commons of humanity itself, of the shared social political space: the more capitalism gets global, the more new walls and apartheids are emerging, separating those who are IN from those who are OUT.

    By this quotation I want to highlight two sets of the challenges of the Muslim societies today. They are external or global and internal or domestic. In other words, the Muslim societies are today in between an “IN” or an “OUT” of the civilizational frame of both an historical and contemporary advantage of it as being the holder of a prestigious title of a living civilization among the other living civilizations of today, especially the Western civilization as they two, the Islamic and the Western civilizations, stand, by all accounts, as Siamese twins in the world. Indeed, these two civilizations are inseparable and inalienable from each other no matter how much some people from both camps would like to separate them or alienate them from each other. These two civilizations share all four Žižek’s commons: culture as an immaterial capital; threats of environmental pollution; biogenetic change of human nature; and social political space. Each of these four commons is important, but the commons of social political space, it seems to me, is the most challenging of all.

    Although, the external or global and internal or domestic affairs in the Muslim societies are strongly converging; and despite the fact that it is not always clearly recognizable as to which one of them is more influential on the overall Muslim social political development, I would say that the internal or domestic affairs are more challenging to the Muslim soul and mind today than the external or global ones. And, contrary to a common perception that the lack of a strong Muslim unity is the biggest obstacle to an overall Muslim stability and prosperity, I would say though that the lack of the clear notion of diversity in the Muslim theological and political thought is the key cause for a disturbance and even bloody violence in the Muslim societies. By far the Muslim faith and the Muslim faithful people are more united in their basic creeds than any other religious group in the world. Indeed, without exception all Muslims around the world have the same belief in the divine origin of the Qur’an, in the authenticity and eligibility of the last Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in the right direction in Muslim prayers towards the K’aba in Mecca, in the right and same day of Arafat of the Hajj pilgrimage, etc. So, there is no Muslim disunity issue here in regard to their basic Islamic creeds. Hence, the Muslims should spare time taking about unity which is obviously there. Instead, the Muslims should start talking about the fact of their diversity, which is obviously there as well, but which is not rightly recognized in the sense of a creative and enriching way as it should be and as it has always been. Therefore, the biggest challenge of the Muslim societies today, as I see it, is to learn how to live the unity in diversity of their ethnic, national, racial, cultural and political background, indeed, their abundant creative potentialities. In short, the Muslim societies today must learn how to respect each other’s diversities as much as they love each other for the sake of their having the same faith and cultur identity. This, indeed, is more challenging than anything else, namely, it is more challenging today to appreciate the Muslim diversity than to insist on the Muslim unity as an empty propaganda that leads some Muslim individuals and groups to a cheap populism and demagogy. Let me say, then, that if Muslims were to respect each other’s life, faith, freedom, property and dignity as much as they love each other because of their common belief in God, in the Angels of God, in the Books of God, in the Prophets go God, in the Last Day of Judgement and in the final God’s decree of their ultimate destiny, their societies would be a lot better in terms of their cultural and social political life, which they share with others as well, and they would be a lot better in their self-sufficiency of cultural, political and civilizational development.

    And the second challenge that is on the Muslim mind today is somewhat a new phenomenon but an old pattern of an intentional mis-interpretation and mis-presentation of Islam and Muslims in the world. Therefore, this new phenomenon got a new name as well – islamophobia. It is not entirely clear what islamophobia means, but it is, no doubt, aimed to embarrass Islam and Muslims around the world in whatever way possible. It is similar to anti-semitism, but it is not the same. It is not racal, but it has something to it; it is not cultural, but it has something to it. It is like bigotry, but it is not fascist. It is simply antagonistic to the presence of Islam and Muslims in certain places in the world. Indeed, islamophobia is a fear from unknown, which is known as Islam, and which is labeled as Islamic, Islamist, Jihadist, Salafist, Wahhabist, Terrorist, etc.

    Again, contrary to a common perception that islamophobia is meant to frighten or terrorize or even to proselytize Non-Muslims around the world, especially in the West, I would say that the islamophobia is primarily meant to frighten and inflict a kind of pain on the soul and mind of Muslims around the world. Non-Muslims, particularly Jews and Christians in the West, have no reason to fear either from Islam as a pure faith or from the Muslims as true faithful people. These tree correlative monotheistic religions, the religions of God’s Books, have accommodated each other through sweet and bitter experiences throughout a long history and, thus, they know exactly the potentials of each other and, thus, they are aware of the fact that there is no alternative to their common coexistence by an inevitable mutual respect as to have and to hold forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to work together for peace and to cherish each other for good of all, till death do them part. All these three religions have learnt by now that the heirs of this earth will be neither the meek nor the aggressive, but cooperative.

    However, what is at stake here is somewhat an overdose visibility of Muslim religiosity in some places not only in the West, but also in the Muslim societies, the kind of religiosity which has been, particularly in the West, almost disappeared due to an anti-religious philosophy of Niche, Russell, Sartre and other European philosophical minds who have propagated a kind of godlessness or faithlessness in favor of a rational enlightenment. I agree, the Muslims are sometimes overloud in highlighting their religiosity which often irritates some people in Europe, not only among the Christian laity, but also among some Muslim laity, and not only in the West but also in the Muslim societies. Therefore, my advise would be to those Muslims in Europe who like to be somewhat religiously over-visible and over-loud, I would like them to consult this verse of the Holly Qur’an, from the sura Al-Isra’ (17), the verse 110, which reads:
    قُلِ ادْعُوا اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمَنَ، أَيًّا مَا تَدْعُوا فَلَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى، وَلَا تَجْهَرْ بِصَلَاتِكَ وَلَا تُخَافِتْ بِهَا وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا ﴿١١٠﴾

    Say to them Muhammad: – Pray to God Almighty or pray to Rahman, the most Merciful, and you may pray to any of His beautiful names, but don’t be either overloud in your prayer or over-shy in it. Instead, you follow the right way, the middle way in your prayer.

    Indeed, the truth doesn’t need to be overloud because it is truth. The lie needs to be overloud to silence the truth. Islam is truth, peace and tolerance. Therefore, it doesn’t need to be overloud to irritate others or to terrorize them in whatever manner.

    In conclusion, then, I would like to say that the Muslim societies today have two biggest challenges of all: one is the unity in diversity and the other is islamophobia which is aimed at them to alienate them from Islam both as faith and culture. Indeed, I see the latter challenge, the islamcphbia, as a Muslim self-alienation, as the most pressing challenge of all. It is not because there is something wrong in Islam or in Muslims, but because we live in the world today which is as “topsy-turvy world” as it was in the time of Hegel, who stated in one of his most bizarre passages in the Phenomenology, that this world is topsy-turvy world where sweet becomes sour, white becomes black and north becomes south. The inversions cover moral laws as well as natural ones: honor becomes contempt and punishment becomes pardon (PS, §158).

    The final word in this presentation of mine today before this noble audience in Tirana I give to the great Arab prose writer and author of works of literature, Mu’tazili theology and politico-religious polemics Al-Jahiz Abu ‘Uthman ‘Amr ibn Bahr Al-Kinani Al-Basri (776-869), who said:

    If you think deeply about the conditions of people, you will find those who are most concerned with the faults of others to have the most faults themselves.

    And this is our message to all islamophobia people wherever they are and whoever they might be.

    Thank you and God bless you!

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  • 04/01/2018

    The Socialist party of America first celebrated the Women’s Day in 1909 in New York. United Nations officially adopted International Women’s Day in 1975. The main purpose of this day is to highlight the discrimination, violence and lack of opportunities for women. The agenda is to influence policy makers all over the world to be fair and just towards women.
    It is unfortunate that whilst Islam give women equal rights, equal status with men and the right to pursue spiritual development and acquired defining proximity. Muslim cultures unfortunately did not always honour this, so we see a big disparity between the teachings of Islam on one hand and the cultures in Muslim countries, which are overwhelmingly patriarchal. This is a classical example of the gap between the principles of Islam and the practices of Muslim societies. One of the major reasons for Islamophobia, the dread and fear of Islam, is based on the misconception that Islam is unfair to women, discriminatory, violent and therefore a backward religion.
    In the seventh century when the Quran was revealed, women had very few rights, however the Quran made it absolutely clear that in the sight of the Lord women were equal in terms of their reward and their ability to acquire Divine proximity and to be His representative on Earth. For the first time in human history women were given the right of ownership, owning property, marriage could not take place without their permission and they had the right to inheritance. Women regularly attended the congregational prayer in the Prophet’s masjid in Madinah, in fact one third of the congregation consisted of women.
    Some of the issues about Muslim women like the hijab has been misunderstood, the prime purpose is to protect women as well as men. The wearing of decent clocks is an important safeguard against sexual perversity and promiscuity. The preachings on modesty, lowering of the gaze and separation of men and women is clearly to safeguard. The latest revelations in the media about sexual harassment at the workplace bears testimony to the foresight of the Islamic Shariah in preventing the free mixing of sexes that leads to terrible abuse. Islamic law believes in taking preventative measures.
    Islam’s holistic approach to the rights of women
    The United Nations concern for the rights of women and protecting them against abuse and investing in their development is honourable and indeed something we Muslims would support and work towards, as it is the fulfilment of the teachings of Islam. However, there seems to be an over-emphasis on the material and the economic needs of women but forgetting crucially the moral, social and spiritual needs. This is where Muslims can play a very important part in making this day (International Women’s Day) not just about the outward but the inner development and strengthening of women.
    I hope that Muslim women will in the future organise conferences on this day showing that women don’t just need laws to protect them but they need opportunities for their moral and spiritual fulfilment so that their children, the future of human generations can truly flourish.
    Here are some of the beautiful teachings of the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) about women, he said “Paradise lies at the feet of your mother“, on another occasion he (peace be upon him) said “the best amongst you is the one who is has the best relationship with his wife”. In praise of daughters he (peace be upon him) said “whoever brings up one girl in the best way is promised Paradise“.
    By Musharrf Husain

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  • 03/04/2018

    The Knowledge Exchange Program participated in the Eighth Islamic Forum, which continues to be active during the period 2-3 March 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey, entitled Spiritual Authority and Integration. The Forum also includes two conferences on the Muslim women and Muslim youth. The forum brings together more than 200 personalities among ministers, scientists and university professors. From all Islamic countries. The forum was opened by the head of the Center for Asian Studies in Turkey, Suleiman Sansawi, followed by a speech by the Minister of Islamic Affairs of Pakistan, the Minister of Hajj and Islamic Affairs of Afghanistan and a speech by the Minister of Youth of Turkey and by the deputy Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Jamal Yusuf. Then Dr. Abdullah bin Fahd Al-Lhaidan, Advisor to the Minister and supervising the Knowledge Exchange Program, delivered a speech in which he said: Your Excellencies
    HE Director of the Center for Asian Strategic Studies
    Scientists and thinkers
    Ladies and Gentelmen:
    I greet you all with the greeting of Islam:
    Peace, mercy and blessings of God.
    I am pleased to express my pleasure in participating in this distinguished forum on: Spiritual Authority and Integration in Theory and Practice as a representative of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Advocacy and Guidance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I also thank the organizers for this wonderful effort and the important subject and convey to you the greetings of His Excellency the Minister of Islamic Affairs
    He went on to say that Islam is a religion guidance and the application of the provisions of Islam on people according to the requirements of circumstances and the difference of time and circumstances, it was obvious that the Islamic religion holds the two authorities: temporal power and spiritual power, to have a combined machine of organizing life and after life. If Islam disregarded temporal authority and remained with only spiritual authority, it would have been a religious religion in its goals, and Muslims became something that is not limited by the law of society and does not know the norms of humanity.
    Islam came with temporal power as well as spiritual authority in the system of government. The government system is guided in all its roles by the guidance of the spiritual authority and temporal authority, comes primarily from the Quranic foundations to draw the boundaries and evaluate circumstances. Human rights in the various transactions, whether they were related to their personal status or the transactions between them and what follows them even in the organization of the government.
    What can not be neglected by the famous German thinker Kant is that the idea of ​​morality and will can not be implanted in us by an external order, we may be forced to do something, but we can not be forced to define our goals, “said – Kant – any legislator wants to impose by legislation moral goals, will fail ” hence the importance of religions that make the commitment to morality stems from within each individual. “Islam is in accordance with the call for an ethical life and the needs of the body, and the life of society. In short, it is a religion that was very close to the natural religion that was believed by most men of the Enlightenment,” wrote Maxim Rodinson, a French orientalist who adopted communism in his book on “the heritage of Islam. . ”

    Al-Lhaidan explained that the Sharia combines the elements of stability and flexibility, and is manifested in the stability of its fundamentals, and flexibility in the branches and their parts and functions, stability prevents it them from melting and melting in other civilizations, and flexibility makes it respond to all developments of the times.
    Islam also carried the highest principles of shura to be the basis of good government and support, because the consultation better than the opinion of the individual, it is the result of opinions derived from the strength of the group is not intended to the total happiness with notice of justice and equality .Thus, the Islamic system is not a theocratic, but it is also not secular, but it is a system characterized by special features.

    In view of the complex problems and issues of mankind today in all parts of the world, human crises and the imperatives of a situation in which one searches for the path to perfection and happiness, and when materialism and material life overwhelm man, he looks into a bright window to emerges from this dark tunnel. Throughout the Islamic world, there has been a wave of thirst for spiritual issues, especially among the younger generation. The religious return in the world in general has been in response to the need for meaning, in a society that is underdeveloped in all forms of consumption and secularization, and in the Islamic world, as a result of the failure of development projects and the suffering of people from poverty, ignorance and disease.
    This issue is now increasing the burden of the message on leaders and religious scholars, and the message becomes heavier, as there must be orientation, dialogue and cooperation. Dialogue is an authentic Islamic approach, maintained by the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in all stages of his life with the friend and enemy, he made it a means of acquaintance and coexistence, cooperation, theQuran said ((O people we created you from a male and female and made you in to people and tribes to know each other))

    The Holy Quran said: ((cooperate on righteousness and piety and do not cooperate in sin and aggression); that man is a social creature with his instinct need to cooperate with others in all areas of his life, has been stated in the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him: do good and benefit of allpeople not only Muslims – a trait and a standard for the Muslim right.
    Then we move to the stage of cooperation between the nations and peoples of Islam to achieve common interests and to meet the common challenges and threats, to replace fear with security, backwardness wit development, poverty with wealth, injustice with and justice.

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, is exerting great efforts in supporting the efforts of establishing moderation and confronting extremism and exclusion and cooperation with religious scholars to achieve distinctive Islamic solutions to the problems of the times. With regard to women, the Government of the Kingdom has focused on education and higher education, where women in universities and institutions of higher education accounted for more than 50%. This was reflected the passage of time in the fields of work. Women constituted 25% of the members of the Shura Council. Is continuing its plans to strengthen the role of the women in all fields.
    Al-Lhaidan explained that the Islamic world has tried during the past decades a number of attempts to integrate all failed because it did not follow the guidance of Islamic law and cooperate to achieve the participants with respect, and it is time to adopt cooperation and respect for religious values ​​in all Islamic countries.
    The unity and solidarity of Islamic countries will be achieved if development is achieved in each country. Many Islamic countries suffer from underdevelopment. The sum of zero plus zero is always zero. When development is achieved, each country will be right number if you add them give you a bigger and more effective number. But in the interest of mankind in general. The development success of a number of Islamic countries such as Malaysia, Turkey and the Gulf states is encouraging. But what is more important is unity and solidarity of hearts before economic and political solidarity.
    Islam has decided the temporal and spiritual powers together, so that one authority can not be separated from the other because they are intertwined in their existence. The temporal authority shapes the form and purpose of the government, establishes the diverse systems of various individuals, families, groups and tribes, and establishes the provisions of war, peace, judicial and administrative policy, And the spiritual authority flows from the personal conditions related to the establishment of a valid marital relationship between men and women and entitle women to rights and rights of men, and then the rulers be subjects to Islamic Law of equality and fairness. With this harmony between the two bodies, the nation and the government achieve justice based on mutual sincerity and good spirit in all the country’s facilities.
    In conclusion, Al-Lahaidan reiterated his thanks to the organizers of this important forum, which he ask God to come up with practical recommendations that contribute to the return of Islamic countries to their place in the forefront of the global civilization.

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  • 02/22/2018

    Dr. Abdullah Al-Lhaidan participated in the conference on equality, justice and brotherhood in contemporary India organized by the Institute of the Objective studies in New Delhi during the period from 16-18 February 2018. The conference was opened by the former Chief justice of India, Jagdish Singh Kehar and Rahman Khan, Former Minister of Minorities. Dr. Mohammad Manzoor, the Chairman of the Institute of Objective Studies, delivered a speech welcoming the audience. He said that this conference concludes with the 30th anniversary of its founding. It is the fourth conference to discuss equality, justice and brotherhood in India, where the subjects are studied from all aspects: historical, legal and social up to this conference, which discusses the recommendations necessary to achieve a better tomorrow for all segments of the Indian people and minorities. the former Chief justice of India, urged all people to forget the tragic past and events that took place and massacres between the majority and minorities And to look for a better future for India that brings together all citizens on an equal footing and noted that India since its independence has issued laws to equalize the poor class, which is estimated at more than 57% of the population, but still this class suffers from inequality.
    Dr. Abdullah bin Fahd Al-Lhaidan, Advisor to the Minister supervisor of the Knowledge Exchange Program, delivered a speech entitled “Peace and Tolerance among Religions Followers: An Islamic perspective in which he said : the Islamic religion is a religion of tolerance, love and peace. It is a strong doctrine that embraces all social virtues and human virtues. Peace is one of the principles that Is deeply rooted in Muslims and has become part of their being. Islam and peace combine to provide tranquility. It is not surprising that the word Islam combines the same letters of in Arabic, reflecting the appropriateness of principle, approach, judgment and subject. Allah has made peace a Muslim’ greeting, so that a Muslim should not speak to another before he begins with the word peace. Our messenger peace be upon him said:«who began to speak before greeting do not answer» .
    Al-Lhaidan explained that the Prophet peace be upon him came as peace and mercy for mankind and to save them and bring them out of darkness to light until all people reach the highest levels of human ethics in all their dealings in life. The message of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is a universal religion that directs its message to all mankind. It is a message that calls for justice and ends injustice. It calls for the positive coexistence among all human beings in an atmosphere of brotherhood and tolerance among all people regardless of their races, colors and beliefs. Everyone is descended from “one soul,” as stated in the Holy Quran: “O people, fear your Lord who created you from the same one soul”).

    Al-Luhaidan said that Islam, which was brought by the Messenger of humanity Muhammad peace be upon him carried with it several important laws aiming to spread peace throughout the world’s . One of the most important of these laws is the law of tolerance and coexistence, which was confirmed by the blessed verses, as well as the honorable hadiths. In the Holy Quran, there is more than one verse calling for softness and peace and renunciation of violence and oppression
    “Allah said: Those who believe and those who are guided, Christians and Sabians are those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and do good deeds; for theirs is reward with their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor do they grieve.” (Al-Baqarah: 62)
    ) Call to the path of your Lord with wisdom and good exhortation and argue with them which is the best ((bees: 125)
    ) And if the ignorant addressed them said peace ((Criterion: 63).
    ) Take amnesty and order right and forgive the ignorant ((norms: 199).
    Al-Lhaidan explained that it is known that the entire world, especially the Arabian Peninsula, witnessed many wars in the time of the Prophet’s inception and before his mission. The Arab tribes fought with each other or with other tribes for or without reason. The true Islam came to bring people out of this difficult life. And the Prophet peace be upon him keen to keep people away from wars and everything that leads to it, and peace be upon him also always looking for peaceful and quiet ways to deal with those who violate him.
    Peace is not only about the complete absence of war. Rather, the war has been established in the shari’a to establish peace and protect it from its aggressors. Allah Almighty has commanded the faithful Muslims to fight for peace, and Allah is peace and ordered them to fight the aggressors.
    Al-Lhaidan said that it is from the premise that Islam called on its followers to get acquainted with other nations and peoples. The Almighty said: “O people, we created you from male and female, and made you peoples and tribes to know each other.” In addition, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Advocacy and Guidance, under the guidance of His Excellency Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdul Aziz Bin Mohammed, the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Advocacy and Guidance, established a program that is a specialized in Islamic cultur aimed at those who are interested in religious studies, to enhance cultural communication, to bridge bridges of understanding, and to seek to interact positively with international changes(KEP).
    KEP message: spreading the values ​​and culture of peace among civilizations, through a continuous humanitarian process and a continuous intellectual and cultural movement, and clarifying the important role played by the Kingdom to spread moderation
    its logo: Towards a meaningful and objective exchange of knowledge
    And its vision: to become one of the most important programs to exchange knowledge and introduce the right knowledge of Islam worldwide, and to strengthen communication at the levels of religious, cultural and civilization.
    Al-Lhaidan highlighted the achievements of the program in the past years:
    -Organize conference was attended by delegates from the embassies of America, Canada, Italy, France, Britain, Russia and Japan, as well as China and South Africa, where the tolerance and mercy of Islam were the subjects
    – Held seminars of Islam and coexistence, attended by foreign professors in Saudi universities, and was introduced to the program, and the establishment of the Friends of the network.
    – Cooperation in the organization of courses to train imams in the Kingdom and abroad on the skills of communication with followers of other religions.
    -The publication of five books illustrates the first: the correct concept of jihad in Islam, and that jihad is not limited to fighting, but its goal is to introduce Islam by good governance and exhortation.
    The second book explains the correct concept of Sharia, and it is a mercy for the worlds and refutes the misconceptions about the legitimate punishments.
    The third book explains the equality of rights between men and women in Islam.
    The fourth book relates to Islam and is a way of life.
    The fifth book deals with morality and coexistence in Islam.
    -Organizing six symposia in cooperation with international universities as follows:
    -1- Human Rights in Islam in cooperation with the University of Western Australia in 2012
    -2- Symposium on Respect for Religions and Holy Sites in cooperation with the European Parliament and Ibn Sina Institute in France 2013
    -3- Symposium on the study of Islam and contemporary Islamic societies in cooperation with the University of Oxford in Britain 2014
    -4- Symposium on Tolerance in Islam and Coexistence among Religions in cooperation with the University of Bologna, 2015
    -5- Symposium on cultural exchange and civilizations communication in cooperation with Beijing University in China 2016
    6- The Ethical Approach to Peaceful Coexistence in collaboration with the University of Wales, UK 2017

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  • 02/13/2018

    RIYADH: King Salman on Sunday underlined the importance of shared human values in different cultures to promote peace and reconciliation.
    The king was addressing a reception at Al-Yamamah Palace hosted in honor of the guests of the Janadriyah festival, the annual national heritage and culture event, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
    Welcoming the guests, which included writers and intellectuals, King Salman said: “This event captures Saudi Arabia’s heritage and culture and reflects our shared desire to promote cross-cultural communication and achieve coexistence and tolerance between the peoples of the world based on shared human values.”
    The king welcomed the Republic of India as the guest of honor at the 32nd edition of the festival.
    “We are aware of the importance of culture as an essential element for shaping a nation’s identity and values, and we believe diversity and respect are requirements for achieving global coexistence and peace.”
    He also stressed the importance of shared human values in all cultures. “The cultural element has become fundamental for good relations between countries and people,” he said. “Therefore, strengthening it is necessary for international peace and security.”
    The head of the All Pakistan Ulema Council, Tahir Ashrafi, thanked Saudi Arabia for its hospitality and warm reception.
    He said: “This festival captures the great history of this country and conveys the message of tolerance, moderation, and mercy, which is demanded by our religion.”
    Inaugurated by King Salman on Wednesday with the traditional camel race and operetta marking the opening ceremony, the 18-day festival encourages Saudis to celebrate their heritage and to bolster cultural exchange.
    Every year the festival attracts a remarkable turnout of local and expatriate visitors, including school children and families, as well as visitors from outside the Kingdom.

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  • 02/04/2018

    The International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) has received the prestigious Africa Peace Award 2018 for its work promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue in Africa and the world, and in particular for its contribution to reviving the African Union Interfaith Dialogue Forum in partnership with the African Union. The prize is given by United Religions Initiative (URI), the renowned global NGO representing 204 member organizations in 31 African countries.

    Past recipients of the Africa Peace Award include the Mozambican leaders who concluded and maintained the Mozambican peace accord; the Achole Religious Leaders Initiative of Northern Uganda for their mediation role; the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission of Rwanda for the the Commission’s outstanding work in promoting peace, unity, harmony, healing, and reconciliation and peaceful coexistence in Rwanda; and the Elders Council of Ethiopia for their outstanding peace and reconciliation work in Ethiopia.
    In addition to the collaboration with the African Union, KAICIID also works with religious leaders and policymakers in Africa to enhance their capacity to build social cohesion and promote common citizenship in their communities. In Nigeria, the Centre has strengthened its role as a forum for dialogue through a sustainable and inclusive dialogue platform that brings together religious actors, policymakers and civil society to find solutions to common challenges. In the Central African Republic, KAICIID works with partners like the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Network of Religious and Traditional Peacemakers to foster dialogue among the diverse religious communities in the country.
    About the Africa Peace Award
    Established in 2007, the Africa Peace Award recognizes the committed, effective leadership to bring sustainable peace, development, democracy, good leadership, reconciliation and inter-religious and inter-cultural harmony and peaceful co-existence in the continent. The Africa Peace Award celebrates, acknowledges and honours the accomplishments of individuals or organizations who have exhibited extraordinary leadership to build a culture of peace, reconciliation and harmony among different religions and cultures and promote human dignity as enshrined in the universal declaration of human right. The Award helps to create role models of peace-builders throughout Africa. Ultimately, the Africa Peace Award is intended to engender a greater appreciation and support for the effective and dynamic leadership associated with building a culture of peace and harmony in Africa on a sustainable basis.
    The secretary-general of KAICIID, Faisal bin Muammar, said: “We are proud and happy to receive this international award, which reflects the centre’s prestigious international status and its achievements in implementing successful interreligious and intercultural dialogue initiatives and promoting the role of international organizations and their partnerships with the centre. This award is an important recognition of our work supporting peaceful coexistence and common citizenship in Africa, especially through KAICIID-supported dialogue platforms for religious leaders and policymakers in Nigeria and the Central African Republic.”

    “KAICIID is the first international dialogue organization to activate the roles of religious individuals, leadership, and institutions to help policymakers establish peace and coexistence under common citizenship, find effective, sustainable solutions, and achieve positive results,”

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