New Delhi: Top Saudi Arabia leader and Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Mohammad bin Abdulkarim al-Issa and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval would address a gathering in Delhi that would likely focus on civilizational dialogue, peace and tolerance.
Top officials said that al-Issa would arrive in New Delhi on July 10 and meet the NSA Doval for a one-on-one meeting in the evening.
They said that on July 11, at 11 am, on the invitation of Khusro Foundation, al-Issa would address a gathering of prominent religious and community leaders, academics and media at B S Abdur Rahman Auditorium, India Islamic Cultural Centre, Lodhi Road.
NSA Doval would also address the gathering, the officials said.
They said that given his previous work as Minister of Justice, Saudi Arabia, and Secretary General Muslim World League, he is expected to speak on moderate Islam, dialogue between civilisations, religious tolerance, intercultural communication, non-violence, and religious pluralism.
The officials said that many invitees including senior academics from various universities are showing keen interest in the event in view of Dr Issa’s nuanced stance on various critical issues facing the Muslim world.
As per sources, Dr al-Issa is expected to meet India’s Minister for External Affairs, S Jaishankar, Minister for Minority Affairs Smriti Irani, and he may also call on President Droupadi Murmu.
He would also meet the President of ICCR and interact with a group of distinguished faith leaders at Vivekananda International Foundation.
“He might visit Akshardham Temple and also meet some prominent personalities. During his stay in Delhi he is likely to pay tributes to martyrs at the National Police Memorial, Chanakyapuri,” the sources said.
Officials said that an important part of his engagement would be the visit to Jama Masjid Delhi for Friday prayers.
They said that he is also scheduled to visit Agra on July 6, 2023.
al-Issa is a prominent religious leader, Islamic scholar, and reformist.
Before being appointed Secretary General of the Muslim World League in 2016, al-Issa served as the Minister of Justice in the Saudi Cabinet.
As the powerful Saudi Minister for Justice, Excellency, he oversaw key reforms in several areas, including legislative reforms in family matters, humanitarian cases, and for the rights of women.
An alumnus of the prestigious Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, al-Issa has a master’s degree and a PhD in Comparative Judicial Studies.
An esteemed figure in global affairs al-Issa is widely recognised for his prominent role in promoting moderate Islam and fostering empathy, understanding, and cooperation among people of all backgrounds.
As the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, an influential non-governmental organisation representing Muslims worldwide, al-Issa has spearheaded initiatives to build partnerships and strengthen relations between diverse communities, faiths, and nations.
He also serves as the chairman of the Centre for Responsible Leadership, a body of globally influential government, faith, media, business, and community leaders working together to solve the challenges facing humanity and the world today.
Religious leaders, government officials, and international organisations have commended him for his efforts in promoting moderation, cooperation, and coexistence among people of different faiths.
Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy M Dolan referred to al-Issa as the “most eloquent spokesperson in the Islamic world for reconciliation and friendship among the religions of the world”.
Ndileka Mandela, granddaughter of Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela and head of the Thembekile Mandela Foundation, praised al-Issa as a "remarkable voice for Muslim tolerance and moderation”.
In January 2020, he led a delegation to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, to mark the 75th anniversary of the camp's liberation from Nazis.
In July 2022, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud appointed al-Issa the Khateeb of Hajj 1443 Hijri to deliver the Hajj sermon from the pulpit of Masjid Nimra.
The Hajj is the largest gathering of Muslims in the world and al-Issa used the opportunity to advocate a moderate message of Islam promoting harmony and compassion.
Under al-Issa's guidance, Muslim World League arranged a discussion and debate forum in Riyadh in May 2022 titled ‘Forum on Common Values among Religious Followers’ where the participants denounced the idea of an “inevitable clash of civilisations” due to religious issues.
The Charter of Makkah, endorsed in 2019 by 1000 religious scholars representing 128 countries, was an effort led by the Muslim World League under al-Issa to create a set of principles that support anti-extremism, religious and cultural diversity, tolerance and legislation against hate and violence.
Since taking over the Muslim World League in 2016, al-Issa has received a number of awards and recognitions from a wide range of prominent international institutions and government officials.
In 2020, The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre named al-Issa one of the most influential Muslims globally in its 2020 edition of ‘The Muslim 500: The World’s Most Influential Muslims’.
al-Issa received the 2018 Galileo International Award from the Galileo Foundation in Florence, Italy for his international achievements and leadership in promoting religious and cultural unity.