New York (Riyadh Daily)
MWL conference in New York calls for independent international cultural linkage in US

The closing statement of the Second US-Islamic World Cultural Linkage Conference stressed the necessity of establishing an "independent international center for cultural linkage" to promote the cultural communication among nations and peoples by launching initiatives and programs to understand and accept others with their different religions and cultures to overcome misconceptions, wrong charges, false barriers and theories of hatred and conflict, along with helping everyone achieve their common interests, consolidate the concept of the single human family and respect the privacy of each religion and culture.

The closing statement of the conference, organized by the Muslim World League (MWL) and attended by more than 450 scientists, intellectuals and politicians, praised the historic initiative of the 2017 Riyadh Summit between the Islamic countries and the US and its emphasis on global cultural communication, which resulted in the establishment of the Global Center for Combating Extremist I Ideology (Etidal), and the Ideological Warfare Center  at the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense, which confronts the extreme ideology.

The statement also stressed that the divine religions agree on the values of love and tolerance and that nations and peoples must recognize the nature of differences among them and the necessity of stability of relations between the Islamic world and the US through cultural communication and positive dialogue.

The statement called on the cultural linkage-relevant scientific and intellectual institutions in the Islamic world and the US to launch programs and initiatives on dialogue and mutual cooperation so as to achieve the common interests and consolidate the principles of trust and harmony to confront hatred and hostility campaigns, especially the theories of cultural clash, and to address all obstacles and launch practical, introductory and discussion programs that respect privacy between Islam and the West.

The statement also called on the MWL to organize a world conference in which Eastern and Western scientists and thinkers will participate to discuss all important dialogue areas, many of which have not been discussed, in order to clarify the future of the common relationship among everyone, based on historical narrative and its conscious and unbiased reading, as huge parts of that narrative carry chapters need more documentation and other chapters whose consequences are borne by their holders with their material and expansionist goals that have no connection to the absolute spiritual aspect even if claimed so.

Conferees called on individuals and competent institutions to make every effort to employ social media and artistic production to promote positive rapprochement among cultures and civilizations to serve the common interests and confront campaigns of hatred and conflict for religious, racial, cultural or other reasons.

The conference commended the MWL's initiative in supporting the positive integration of the so-called religious and cultural minorities in their national communities and the suggestion to call their countries as the countries of religious and cultural diversity and call their lesser number category as the religious and cultural specificity category, as describing them as minorities is offensive to their entity and national right and passively affects their programs of positive integration.

Participants praised the extraordinary initiatives of the MWL and urged it to provide more fruitful initiatives and programs that include a comprehensive vision that takes into account the Islamic and the US interests and balances them to achieve peaceful coexistence.

In his speech at the opening of the conference, His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa called for adopting an initiative of "Four Nos" which represent the main pillars of the cultural communication among peoples. He asserted that "no for imposing cultures, beliefs and convictions, no for judging the doctrines that God alone will judge on the Day of Resurrection, no for bidding and trading rights, and no for speaking and acting in discretion in the name of the Creator, as the infallibility of humans ended by the end of the Prophets.

Dr. Al-Issa explained that the secret of the spread of any civilization is linked to the level of its human values and that extremists exaggerated in their belief that whoever opposes them is the enemy of God. He pointed out that extremism has misinterpreted the religious texts and the slogans of Islamophobia have provided Da'esh with a free service that made easy for it to attract its followers. Dr. Al-Issa emphasized that nothing is more dangerous than the conspiracy to deprive humanity from meeting around their shared values and that the clash of civilization is borne by the political and material ambitions and false religiosity. He stressed the need to prevent all methods of incitement and contempt against religions and cultures and emphasize the importance of adopting a curriculum concerned with commonalities, cooperation and the development of free thought.

The Conference started with a number of important speeches by His Excellency the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, His Excellency the Chairman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments in the UAE, Dr. Mohammed Matar Al Kaabi, Grand Mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt Sheikh Dr. Shawki Allam, President of the Emirates Fatwa Council and Chairman of the Forum for the Promotion of Peace in Muslim Societies, Sheikh Abdallah bin Mahfudh ibn Bayyah, Dr. Charles Asher Small, Founding Director and President of the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy., Cardinal Brian McKinnie, Executive Director of the Office of Global Religious Affairs in the New York Diocese, and Professor John Duck Anthony, President of the National Council on Arab-American Relations.

Speakers commended the MWL's efforts in building bridges of relations with followers of different faiths and promoting the discourse of moderation and coexistence to spread peace and love among peoples. They also praised the MWL's international presence in all forums, especially those that reinforce awareness about human commonalities among nations and call for values of dialogue and understanding.

Speakers stressed that the MWL has taken on effective communication to clarify the facts of the Western world which learns about Islam only the risks of extremism and terrorism. The conference received a large Western presence and wide US media coverage.

The conference was attended by US Assistant President and Special Advisor Jason Greenblatt, who twitted: "I was pleased to attend the MWL conference on the cultural rapprochement between the Islamic world and the US. It was a great opportunity to hear Muslim leaders and others calling for enhancement of peace, harmony and cooperation. It is important to have a dialogue on how we can live together with respect and trust."

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