The first conference of Asian religious scholars organized in Malaysia by the Muslim World League (MWL) called for promoting values of tolerance and respect to help achieve global peace and security. Also, the conference approved establishing an Ulama council for Southeast Asian scholars.
Moreover, scholars at the conference valued the role played by the Makkah Document in training Imams.
Participants from 17 countries gathered in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday for the event, which was opened by Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Malaysian Religious Affairs Minister Idris Ahmad and MWL Secretary-General Sheikh Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa.
More than 1,000 participants arrived from Saudi Arabia and countries including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
“We feel proud and lucky that the MWL has chosen Malaysia to host the conference, which of course is a recognition to our country, which highlights Islam as a harmonious, safe and prosperous religion in a multi-racial and multi-religious society,” Yaakob said, adding that the meeting was taking place at a time when Muslims are still facing various challenges, including disputes among themselves, provocation, and Islamophobia.
The meeting will pave the way for the establishment in Kuala Lumpur of a permanent council under the MWL.
Al-Issa said that the council’s first session was planned next year. Moreover, the council is expected to discuss a mechanism for training Southeast Asian Imams based on the Makkah Document.
The conference aims at developing educational tools and initiatives to foster collaboration and solidarity, especially among young and emerging leaders, to combat extremist ideology and what the MWL said in a statement were “artificial differences that sometimes exist” in politically diverse societies.
Al-Issa clarified that there are commonalities between religions that guarantee the achievement of harmony and national unity for all.
He asserted that religion is not a proponent of division.
According to Al-Issa, Islam has especially welcomed peace and tolerance, unlike what extremists and terrorists portray.
He stressed that the meeting of the scholars in Kuala Lumpur represents an urgent necessity to address major pressing issues.
However, Al-Issa voiced his happiness about the conference setting a good start for a permanent council whose scholars meet from time to time under the global umbrella of the Islamic peoples.