MWL Conference of African Ulemas Kicks off in Gambia to Promote Moderation

The Gambian President grants MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed al-Issa with the Ambassador for International Peace medal. (Asharq Al-Awsat) 
The Gambian President grants MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed al-Issa with the Ambassador for International Peace medal. (Asharq Al-Awsat) 
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MWL Conference of African Ulemas Kicks off in Gambia to Promote Moderation

The Gambian President grants MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed al-Issa with the Ambassador for International Peace medal. (Asharq Al-Awsat) 
The Gambian President grants MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed al-Issa with the Ambassador for International Peace medal. (Asharq Al-Awsat) 

Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Dr. Mohammed al-Issa kicked off on Saturday the inaugural conference of African Ulemas in the Gambian capital Banjul. 

The event brings together senior muftis, scholars and ministers of religious affairs in Africa with the aim of coordinating their pivotal efforts in promoting societal harmony and tackling security challenges, most notably extremism, violence and terrorism. 

Speaking at the event, Gambia’s President Adama Barrow called on Muslim scholars to intensify their role in promoting moderation and correcting misconceptions about Islam. 

Issa underscored the important role played by scholars in Islamic societies and humanity. 

They are the means through which extremism, violence and terrorism, which has greatly harmed Islam, are confronted, he added. 

He stressed that scholars during our age play a great role in fighting calls to extremism, violence and terrorism and promoting values of moderation. 

Calls to violence are usually met by those who are ignorant have no knowledge of Islam, he lamented. 

Moreover, he said the MWL is pleased with the participation of African scholars in drafting one of the most important Islamic documents in modern history, the Makkah Declaration, which was sponsored by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and initiated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

He stressed that the MWL is “one of the good deeds the Kingdom has presented to the Islamic world.”  

He further noted that the document is now adopted by various Islamic and non-Islamic countries to train Imams.   

The document has gained popularity and great influence among Muslims and non-Muslims alike, proving that it was published at a very crucial and sensitive time.   

It reflects the reality of Islam by underlining the values of moderation, calling for peace and harmony among peoples, and addressing key contemporary issues with an enlightened Islamic approach, he went on to say. 

Issa also hailed the African scholars who were determined to form the “African Scholars Council” under the umbrella of the Muslim World League, which, he said, is delighted to host a periodical meeting for African scholars in Makkah.  

Issa arrived in Banjul at the invitation of the Gambian president, who held a reception at the presidential palace in his honor. He praised the MWL’s global efforts and thanked it for choosing Gambia to hold the Conference of African Ulemas.  

Barrow described the event as “historic,” adding that it will have a great impact on Africa. 

He later decorated Issa with the Ambassador of International Peace medal, in recognition of his efforts in promoting peace and international cooperation.  



2 Million Pilgrims Begin Hajj on Friday with Comprehensive Services at Their Disposal

The pilgrims will spend the day at Mina ahead of heading to Arafat on Saturday. (SPA)
The pilgrims will spend the day at Mina ahead of heading to Arafat on Saturday. (SPA)
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2 Million Pilgrims Begin Hajj on Friday with Comprehensive Services at Their Disposal

The pilgrims will spend the day at Mina ahead of heading to Arafat on Saturday. (SPA)
The pilgrims will spend the day at Mina ahead of heading to Arafat on Saturday. (SPA)

Over 2 million pilgrims will begin on Friday the annual Hajj pilgrimage, starting at Mina, and amid a comprehensive package of services at their disposal aimed at ensuring that they have a safe and smooth journey.

The pilgrims will spend the day at Mina where they will perform the Duhr, Asr, Maghreb and Isha prayers ahead of heading to Arafat on Saturday in what is the most important day of the Hajj.

Mina is considered the greatest tent city of the world and one Saudi Arabia’s mega projects. It stretches 2.5 million square meters to accommodate 2.6 million pilgrims.

Muslim worshippers pray around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on June 13, 2024, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (AFP)

The General Directorate of Passports revealed that it has registered 1,547,295 pilgrims this year.

Director of Public Security and head of the Hajj Security Committee Mohammad Al-Bassami inspected the readiness of the Hajj security forces and supporting military forces. He underscored their readiness in implementing security and organizational plans aimed at ensuring the safety of the pilgrims.

He stressed that the security forces will firmly confront anything that may undermine the safety of the pilgrims during their holy journey.

Pilgrims leave after offering prayers outside at the Grand Mosque during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, early Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP)

The Saudi Royal Air Force will also be monitoring the Hajj to provide security and prevent any development that may impact the pilgrimage and worshippers.

Concerned parties at the Interior Ministry will follow up on the security plans and crowd control. They will monitor entrances to the holy city of Makkah to prevent anyone violating Hajj regulations from entering.

Meanwhile, the first of the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro trips kicked off on Thursday. It will transport pilgrims between nine stations spread between Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah. Seventeen trains will be operated by 7,500 employees.

The first of the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro trips kicked off on Thursday. (SPA)

The Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence has provided the pilgrims with several digital services through the Tawakkalna app that is available in seven languages: Arabic, English, Filipino, Indonesian, Bengali, Urdu and Hindi. The app provides message, weather and Qibla services, a Quran, and prayer times. It also boasts features from the Nusuk Hajj digital card and other services.

The Public Health Authority will provide a number of services to the pilgrims. It has placed plans to combat infectious diseases, updated protocols and guidelines related to public health risks, and is constantly assessing risks.

The Ministry of Health is continuing its awareness campaign towards pilgrims throughout the holy sites. It is informing them of preventive measures that will help them protect their health and safety during the Hajj. This includes information on how to protect themselves from heat exhaustion due to the soaring heat. Pilgrims are advised to carry umbrellas and drink water.

The health ministry is also providing instant digital medical consultations around the clock. Pilgrims can contact consultants through a dedicated hotline with services provided in six languages: Arabic, English, French, Turkish, Persian and Urdu. They can also be contacted through the X platform or the Sehhaty app.