Saudi’s New Direction Towards an Open Global Islamic Authority
It is no longer a secret that Saudi Arabia is undergoing a massive economic transformation. This transformation is so essential to Saudi Arabia’s security and stability, that it is taking every measure possible to make sure that it succeeds. What is not yet known, however, is that Saudi Arabia is also taking a new approach in its relentless efforts to combat strains of extremism that are continuously threatening both local, regional, and global stability. What makes this approach novel is that it confronts extremism to where it really matters: the ideological and intellectual battlefield.
At the forefront of this effort appears to be a key figure, an up and coming star, in the Saudi religious establishment who is the current Secretary General of the Muslim World League and a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars: Dr. Mohammed Al-Eissa. He also oversees the day-to-day operations of the Ideological Warfare Center (IWC), which aims to confront the roots of extremism and promote the true understanding of Islam. He recently welcomed representatives of different Lebanese sects “along with the Vatican delegate in this spirituality focused meeting, where the values of respect, tolerance and openness towards other religions and sects were emphasized”. There were some others in the religious establishment who would not participate in this gathering unless they “would act as debaters or opposers..”
The reports states that the religious scholar, Al-Eissa, stressed that “Islam warned against the forceful imposition of views, and that Islam has coexisted peacefully with other religious in the past. This has set the tone of the religious dialogue to that of politeness and respect for the other side’s humanity and dignity.”
In the SAPRAC’s report a concise overview is given of the current Secretary General of the Muslim World League’s efforts to emphasize Islam’s values of peace, tolerance, and coexistence, all of which are antithetical to the fundamentalist view of Islam that extremists are using to further their terrorist activities. Accordingly, Al-Eissa is the main figurehead for promoting the true version of Islam, which encourages peace, tolerance and coexistence.
Finally, while critics may suggest that these values are also incompatible with the predominant and traditional Saudi religious establishment, nevertheless, one should look at the issue meticulously; it has become clear that Saudi Arabia is taking the ideological war against extremism seriously, especially through the narrative that the current Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Al-Eissa, is brings to the fore which is an accepting, welcoming, and pluralistic narrative.
You can read or download SAPRAC’s full report of the current Secretary General of the Muslim World League on SAPRAC website: https://www.saprac.org/