Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa is widely recognized as a leading global voice on moderate Islam, committed to bringing global awareness to the religion’s true message of empathy, understanding, and cooperation among all people. As Secretary General of the Muslim World League, a Makkah-based non-governmental organization that represents adherents of the Islamic faith around the world, Dr. Al-Issa has been a trailblazer in building new partnerships among different communities, faiths, and nations. He has been lauded by the international community for his leadership in combatting anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and hate speech.
LEADERSHIP OF THE MUSLIM WORLD LEAGUE
Dr. Al-Issa assumed his current role as Secretary-General of the Muslim World League in August 2016. As Secretary-General, he has travelled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia, meeting with dignitaries and parliamentarians from the fields of justice, law and human rights, and major faith-based and community leaders. To advance his vision of civilizational and cultural dialogue, Dr. Al-Issa visited the Vatican in September 2017 to meet Pope Francis and the late Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Chairman of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In 2019, Dr. Al-Issa visited Sri Lanka to meet with Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders to promote integration in the wake of the deadly Easter attacks. Over the past two years, Dr. Al-Issa has signed several cooperation agreements with some of the largest Jewish institutions operating in the United States and globally. In September 2019, he orchestrated the first agreement between leaders of the Abrahamic religions in Paris. In 2020, Dr. Al-Issa finalized cooperation agreements with eminent leaders of religious organizations around the world. In January 2020, Dr. Al-Issa became the most senior Islamic leader to visit the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp. Later that month, he joined Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg in a virtual symposium focused on fighting hate and discrimination. Throughout 2020, Dr. Al-Issa oversaw a comprehensive research project in partnership with the United Nations University for Peace, which culminated in the launch of the book “Promote Peace, Human Rights and Civilized Dialogue” in November 2020. Most recently, in June 2021, Dr. Al-Issa brokered a ground-breaking agreement the “Declaration of Peace in Afghanistan” between government ministers and senior scholars from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
THE CHARTER OF MAKKAH
Widely considered one of the most critical documents in modern Islamic history, the Charter of Makkah calls for combatting hate speech, violence, extremism, and terrorism worldwide, while advancing the principles of moderate Islam and interfaith partnership. More than 1200 notable unanimously endorsed the historic charter at the culmination of the Makkah Conference, held by the MWL in May 2019. Dr. Al-Issa led the four-day conference, which included participants representing every sect of Islam. This charter follows the precedent of the Charter of Medina, drafted by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) nearly fourteen centuries ago to preserve the diversity of the Islamic Ummah and form the basis of interreligious cooperation.
EDUCATION AND EARLY CAREER
Al-Issa completed his studies at the University of Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, where he earned a master’s degree and a PhD in Comparative Judicial Studies (Constitutional Law). Thereafter, Dr. Al-Issa held many prestigious public offices in Saudi Arabia. He worked as a Judge in the Ministry of Justice, rising to the highest rank of Chief Appellate Judge. In 2017, he was appointed Vice President of the Court of Grievances. Later in 2019, Dr. Al-Issa was appointed Minister of Justice and an Advisor at the Royal Court. In December 2015, Dr. Al-Issa was appointed General Supervisor at the Ideological Warfare Center. In November 2012, he was selected as honorary President of the Council of Arab Ministers of Justice. He later joined the teaching staff at King Saud University and Al-Imam Mohammad Bin Saud Islamic University. Since 2017, he has served as General Supervisor of the King Salman Center for International Peace (KSIPC) in Malaysia.
Dr. Al-Issa is the recipient of numerous domestic and international awards for his leadership in promoting interreligious dialogue and moderation and fighting extremism and hateful rhetoric. Some of which include: The Norwegian Bridge Builder Award (2021), The Prophet’s Hijra Award (2021), Golden Shield Award (2021), Combat Anti-Semitism Award (2020), Supreme Republic Medal (2019), Peace Prize from the Arab-American Relations Council (2019), Galileo International Award (2018) and others.
IN THE MEDIA
Dr. Al-Issa has been published in leading international publications, including:
· Muslim scholars, bishops, rabbis and Hindu leaders meet in Saudi Arabian religious conference (Fox News) · To save Muslim lives, let Muslims tell their own stories (The Washington Post)
· Former Saudi justice minister, head of Muslim World League wants interfaith peace ‘through real world action’ (Fox News) · Women are the missing key to tackling climate change in the Muslim World (Euractive) · Religion’s Role in Climate Conversations (Newsweek) · Ramadan a chance to dispel vaccinations myths across Islamic world (The Sydney Morning Herald)
· Islamic scholars can turn the Taliban towards moderation (The Times of London)
· Social media brings out the hate in individuals (Washington Times)
· How Auschwitz has united Muslims and Jews (Chicago Tribune)
· Why Muslims from around the world should remember the Holocaust (The Washington Post)
· I Lead the Muslim World League. Here is Why I Broke Taboos To Acknowledge the Holocaust (Newsweek)
· A Ramadan for the World (The Washington Times)