Muslim World League fires back at Al Jazeera host’s mocking of interfaith efforts

The Muslim World League (MWL) is firing back after an Al Jazeera host mocked the organization’s interfaith efforts, calling the criticism “lamentable” and divisive.

On Monday Al Jazeera television host Ahmed Mansour tweeted a clip of MWL Secretary General Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa emphasizing interreligious solidarity and accused the Muslim leader of calling for a new merged religion between the faiths.

MWL told Al Arabiya English it is “lamentable that certain political actors insist on injecting politics into basic acts of humanity between people of different faiths, beliefs or philosophies.”

“At a time of so much distrust and discord, all those who are interested in peace, coexistence and tolerance must stand together. And we must reject those who wish to divide us through hatred or mockery,” said MWL spokesperson Abdulwahab Alshehri in an interview with Al Arabiya English.

Muhammad al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, at the Vatican with Pope Francis on Sept. 20, 2017. (AP)

Muhammad al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, at the Vatican with Pope Francis on Sept. 20, 2017. (AP)

Last week Al-Issa received the first ever Combat Anti-Semitism Award from the American Sephardi Federation and during the virtual ceremony he pledged to fight “the scourge” of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

“In the Muslim League we are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters to build understanding, respect, love, and interreligious harmony,” said Al-Issa in the ceremony on June 9.

Days later, Al Jazeera television host Ahmed Mansour tweeted the clip of remarks, accusing Al-Issa of calling for a new merged religion between the faiths.

“The Secretary-General of the Jewish-Muslim World League calls for a new religion?!” Mansour tweeted on Monday.

American Jewish Rabbi Marc Schneier, who has paired up with Al-Issa and the MWL for a global Muslim-Jewish program, called the critique of MWL “foolish and outright dumb.”

“No one is looking to merge religions. Interfaith harmony doesn’t mean we have to merge religions. That’s ridiculous,” said Schneier in an interview with Al Arabiya English.

“Dr. Al-Issa has been working with several Jewish based organizations for 18 months in terms of advancing and strengthening Muslim-Jewish relations,” he added.

MWL joined forces with Schneier's Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) for the "Season of Twinning Program," which recently brought together rabbis and imams in over 50 events in 35 countries to focus on interreligious dialogue.

Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa and Rabbi Marc Schneier on October 23, 2019. (Supplied)

Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa and Rabbi Marc Schneier on October 23, 2019. (Supplied)

The Muslim World League is an international non-governmental Islamic organization based in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Founded in 1962 by Crown Prince Faisal Bin Abdul-Aziz, MWL represents the 50 states of the Islamic world.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the leading contributor member of the Muslim countries funding MWL.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 17 June 2020 KSA 14:05 - GMT 11:05
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