The League’s general secretary made the announcement yesterday. The organisation, which promotes "pan-Islamism", wants the meeting open to all Islamic and Christian confessions. The “dark page” in Sunni-Shia relations must be turned. Iran’s extremist confessional policies are criticised. What is needed is a return to an Islam that is open to the world and other religions.
Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Muslim World League (MWL) has decided to organise a world Islamic-Christian conference next year in Beirut, the organisation’s secretary general, Mohammad al-Issa, announced yesterday.
The MWL, the religious arm of Saudi Wahhabism, promotes pan-Islamism, the political unification of all Muslim peoples, and has as its mission the spread of Islamic teachings through Islamic schools and institutes.
Al-Issa, a former Saudi Justice minister, has led the organisation since 2016. Yesterday, he met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, National Assembly Speaker Nabih Berry, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Elias Audeh, and Shia (Jafari) Mufti Ahmad Kabalan. Afterwards, al-Issa gave a press conference at the Phoenicia Hotel.
For al-Issa, Lebanon is the "natural" location for the MWL initiative of reconciliation between Muslims and Christians and between Muslims. Addressing the mufti, he said that it was time to "turn the dark page of the past and start a new relationship based on tolerance, equality and cooperation ... and achieve brotherly Muslim reconciliation, developing in depth all that can lead to the purification of hearts and the dissipation of conflicts and differences, particularly between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, to block those who use the Ummah to pursue personal interests and act according to the principle of divide and rule.”
However, al-Issa put a side for a moment such a conciliatory tone when he criticised the "extremist confessional politics of Iran in the region", albeit noting that this does not apply to Shias.
Responding to criticism that his country promotes the most rigid Islam in the world, he said that "Saudi Arabia was not like that before 1979. Saudi Arabia and the whole region were touched by the Sahwa movement (close to the Muslim brotherhood), which has tried to propagate extremist ideas. We want to go back to what we were: a moderate Islam open to the world, open to all religions."
"What we do and what we want to do is to purify Islam,” he insisted, in order to “free ourselves from extremism, false interpretations, and pass on the correct readings of Islam".