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A.S. Al-Shahrani: Address to the International Leadership Conference

Address to the UPF International Leadership Conference
Seoul, Korea, February 6-10, 2011

Ali Saad Al-Shahrani is a lawyer and social entreprener from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He is chairman of Ali Bin Zehefa and Sons and an Ambassador for Peace and Religious Dialogue in the Middle East.

In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful, peace and blessing of God be upon you. In the name of Allah, praise and peace be upon the messenger of God. I am greeting you on this happy day, and I will take this opportunity to explain to you the great goal of humanity, for which God almighty has created us. God Almighty said,

And I created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship me. I seek not any provision from them, nor do I ask that they should feed me. Verily Allah is the all-provider, owner of power, the most strong. (Qur’an 51:56-58)

God almighty created us in this earth in order to worship him and believe that there is only one God. He stands alone in worship and honesty. He the one and the only God has created of us from one father and one mother. God Almighty said,

O mankind we have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with God is the believer, verily God is all knowing all aware. (Qur’an 49:13)

He has created us from Adam and our mother Eve. Then this humankind procreated in the earth, making nations and tribes, and through them making continents, provinces, countries, and governments. From this great human being developed the family, from the family the society, from the society the district, from the district the city, from the city the country, and from the country the continent. The aim of human beings and their religion is to deal morally and cooperate and coexist among people of different nationalities and religions. The high goal of humanity is to spread peace, love, and mercy, which God ordained in the four heavenly books: the Torah, the Bible, the Psalms, and the noble Qur’an.

Nations and governments must respect other nations and allow them freedom in their way of life and religion. There should be no aggression or bloodshed without reason. In this century in which Almighty God has honored us to live, we should respect people of other nationalities, languages, and religions, since Almighty God has more knowledge than any of us in this conference with all our languages.

We have come to this conference seeking peace and dialogue among people of different religions and nationalities in order to spread peace, cooperation, brotherhood, mercy, and kindness. We have developed into nations and religions, and the world now contain Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and people of other religions. In spite of the diversity of nature and faiths, Almighty God has brought us together on one planet. We are all brothers, seeking international peace. Dear brothers, we are inviting you to peace and interreligious dialogue, as stated in the noble Qur’an:

Almighty God said, “And argue not with people of the scripture, unless it be that is better, except with such of them as do wrong.” (Qur’an 29:56)

Also Allah said,

O people of the scripture, come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but God and that we associate no partners with him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides God. Then if they turn away, say, "Bear witness that we are Muslims.” (Qur’an 3:64)

The truthful mission and initiative which King Abdullah, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (in Mecca and Medina), declared in the religious dialogue opened a new page in our nation’s cooperation for the general welfare. To all the nations of the world, he made an announcement promoting peace and religious dialogue in order to defuse the clashes among nations, as indicated in the citation from the noble Qur’an. This initiative requires us to be peaceful, merciful, and kind, honoring human beings and their religion because we are Muslims and believe that there is only one God. We believe in all the revealed books and love all the prophets and messengers, from Adam, peace be upon him, to Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus), until Muhammad, peace be upon them. God has been sending prophets and messengers to his devotees in order to invite them to the worship of God and God alone.

Almighty Allah has honored the human being and favored him above all of his creation. Indeed, we have honored the children of Adam, and Allah made the angels kneel to Adam, peace be upon him. (Qur’an 2:34)

The prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, said "There is no difference between the Arabs and non-Arabs except in their fear of God." (Hadith)

When we work for peace and make a unified strategy towards one goal, we will inevitably spread peace, brotherhood, and cooperation and make our life as human beings more happy. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques is the first Arab Muslim to take the initiative to declare interreligious dialogue and establish a center for interconnections between civilizations and cultures in order to promote dialogue. He issued an international invitation to peace and conversation with others. From this starting point he has offered the King Abdullah Prize for cultural dialogue. In 2008, he assembled an international conference in Mecca for intercultural and interreligious dialogue and a second conference in Madrid, attended by representatives from many countries. He appealed to the United Nations to support and consolidate interreligious and intercultural dialogue and establish a permanent committee to take responsibility for the dialogue.

This dialogue initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, may God protect him, has promoted human values and multiplied the responsibility felt by the Muslim World League, represented by its Secretary General, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdul Mohsin Al-Turki. We are inviting you, in the spirit of peace and cooperation, to promote security, safety, and peaceful coexistence. Almighty Allah helped me to write a book, which I named Islam, Peace, and Religious Dialogue. This is my great effort in support of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

I look forward with great pleasure to seeing you again. Congratulations on this outstanding achievement. I wish for all the people of the world to live in peace, tranquility, prosperity, well-being, happiness, cooperation, and tolerance.

I also take this great occasion to thank the Universal Peace Federation, which operates in support of the United Nations. And congratulations and blessings to Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon and all who are working side by side with them on this great occasion. Each of us are kernels for disseminating harmonious coexistence and peace, part of the grand effort to promote peace among people.

Thank you, and peace be upon you. May heavenly fortune be with you.