MWL’s al-Issa highlights dialogue with Marine Le Pen on Islam, respecting values

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
4 min read

The teachings of Islam encourage dialogue and peaceful coexistence despite differences, the secretary-general of Muslim World League has said, referring to the ongoing elections in France and a possible far-right victory that has stoked fear among the country’s six million Muslims.

On Sunday, France’s far-right National Rally party led the first round of parliamentary elections and while it’s not yet clear if Marine Le Pen’s party will form a majority after the July 7 run-off, Muslims in the country fear a rise in Islamophobia.

“We had a very long discussion with Ms. Marine Le Pen in several meetings,” Dr. Mohammed al-Issa said on Monday during an event with a UK based think tank.

“We discussed the topic of respecting the values of the republic. I said, ‘I’m currently in France. I must respect the values of the republic as long as I’m sitting among the French people in France. Otherwise, I should not come here in the first place. How can I enter a country without respecting their values?”

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

He continued: “She [Le Pen] asked me, is this Islam? I said yes this is Islam.”

Al-Issa then told her, “If there are people with extremist ideas, they don’t represent Islam. We respect others. Any Muslim who lives in another country, whether a national or resident, they must respect the constitution and laws of the country.”

Al-Issa, who has led the Muslim World League since 2016, also spoke of the organization’s “good relation” with Pen.

“We are very transparent when we speak to each other… we speak as friends. We share a friendship based on mutual understanding,” he said.

He added: “For the sake of coexistence we must respect the constitutions of all countries and values of these countries when we are living in these countries and exchanging our interests with them. We must respect their culture; these are the true values of Islam.”

Islam and national identity

Al-Issa reiterated his organization’s neutral stance toward the French elections and support for whoever emerges victorious by “the will of the people,” but cautioned against politicization of Islam.

“We are completely against what is called political Islam, and groups that want to hijack Islam and limit its values and visions into political ideas only,” he said, speaking on the rise in politicization of Islam and Islamophobia in the wake of the war in Gaza.

Al-Issa explained Islam is against ideas that disrespect national identity and peaceful coexistence – “People who practice that, we don’t say they are Muslims,” he said.
Racism and intolerance are rising in France, fueled by the war in Gaza and far-right ideas in public debate, France’s human rights commission, the CNCDH, said in an annual report published in June.

Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron, who faces the prospect of cooperating with a far-right prime minister, is urging voters to back his centrist party, warning of “civil war” if the hard right or left triumphs.

According to al-Issa, leaders across the word need to be wise and logical and learn from history.

“Extremism always has negative outcomes and wisdom’s outcome is always positive,” he said. “There is no benefit in lying and instigating voters that may lead to clash of civilizations and conflict between countries.”

Read more:

As France votes, Europe holds its breath

French left, Macron scramble to prevent far-right from taking power

‘We are ready’ to rule France, far-right leader Jordan Bardella says

Top Content Trending