Among the winners list that includes prominent international figures; kings, presidents and peacemakers
Dr. Al-Issa is granted "Builder of Bridges" Award jointly with the World Council of Churches in Geneva and Chief Rabbi Melker
The names of the winners were announced from the headquarters of the Nobel Peace Center and published on its website
The awarding ceremony was hosted by the Opera Hall with the participation of political, international and parliamentary leaders and heads of major international organizations
Award Committee: Dr. Al-Issa has done an exceptional job in bridging the relationship between followers of religions and civilizations through a remarkable and tangible contribution
Talking about "building bridges" means talking about active participation in peacemaking
Our world lacks effective dialogue with its tangible impact on bridging the relationship between nations and peoples
Being away from each other builds walls of fear, doubts and misunderstandings
The choice of the wise in the face of the painful chapters of history is to look forward, get acquaintance, tolerance and coexistence... and the events of history are in the hands of their owners.
Exclusion left religious, sectarian and ethnic racism... and led to the marginalization of the role of women
Instilling values is a major axis in education, on which the formula of thinking and behavior of the individual and the group is focused
The Norwegian “Builder of Bridges” Prize Committee awarded His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Mohammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL) and Chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars, its global prize for 2021. From its headquarters in Oslo, the Award Committee confirmed that His Excellency has done an exceptional job in bridging the relationship between followers of religions and civilizations through a remarkable and tangible contribution, as a leading global force for peace and harmony between nations and religions, and the fight against extremist ideologies.
In a celebration hosted by the Opera Hall in the Norwegian capital, His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Al-Issa received the award, along with the World Council of Churches in Geneva and Rabbi Miguel Malker, in the presence of international political, international and parliamentary leaders, heads of major international organizations, and a wide range of Norwegian religious and community leaders, in addition to the participation of the former Prime Minister of Norway, who moderated the dialogue in the awarding ceremony, Mr. Kjell Bondevik, the President of the Dialogue for Peace Foundation and the winner of the Bridge Building Award last year, Mr. Amer Sheikh, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), and Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Mr. Jagan Chapagan.
Dr. Al-Issa was congratulated by a number of Norwegian and European officials. The Award Committee described His Excellency as a leading global force in moderation and combating extremist ideologies, and a clear and distinguished voice for peace and cooperation between nations and religions, stressing that "the honor is recognition and encouragement to continue great efforts aimed to promote tolerance, respect and love."
The Award Committee affirmed: "It is the first time for the Norwegian capital to witness a meeting of high-level representatives of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, to highlight respect and tolerance among them, and to express a clear ambition for further cooperation between religions."
In his speech after receiving the award, His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Mohammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa explained that talking about building bridges means talking about the active participation in peacemaking, stressing that building means actual work, and that the presence of bridges means opening the way to achieve the purpose of building, and then comes religious and intellectual awareness, as well as the societal, civilized and political awareness to cross these bridges in order to reach safety, which is the gateway to understanding and cooperation, leading to the peace of our world and the harmony of our national societies around the globe.
His Excellency stressed that the alternative to bridges is discontinuity and gap, which caused a clash of civilizations, whether between religions, cultures, or even politics and economics, and even humanitarian actions, some of which have been distorted through selectivity in distribution, or the pursuit of special interests behind them. He stressed that there is nothing worse than providing assistance to the needy in order to achieve sectarian or political interests, or any other inhumane goals.
The MWL's SG warned again against the unfair distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine, saying: "It is a shame for the rich to monopolize it and for the poor to become faced with the pain of poverty, the pain of disease, the pain of cruelty of neglect and injustice, and just as disease does not differentiate between anyone, treatment must not differentiate between anyone.
With regard to the cause of conflict and clash owing to the religious, cultural, political and other gaps, Dr. Al-Issa said, "Bing away from each other will build walls of fear, doubts and misunderstanding, and this will get many of us to feel anxiety about the other, then hatred, then conflict, which unfortunately happened".
His Excellency called for an effective dialogue that answers all questions with transparency and clarity, and addresses problems effectively, not a formal dialogue or a dialogue of courtesies. He also called for solidarity between followers of religions and civilizations in the face of the exchange of accusations and misconceptions, and in the face of hate speech, especially the speech of the trial of history, as well as in the face of violence and terrorism.
His Excellency went on: "The choice of the wise in the face of the painful chapters of history is to look forward, get acquaintance, tolerance and coexistence with love and cooperation, as well as awareness that mistakes and even historical crimes cannot be inherited. There is a Quranic verse in which Allah Almighty says: Those are a people who have passed away. Theirs is that which they earned, and yours is that which you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do."
He added: "It is better for everyone to have a real and effective awareness that difference and diversity among humans is part of this life full of diversity, and that there is absolutely no justification for the existence of hatred and exclusion for the sake of different religion and culture, or even politics, or others, otherwise we decide not to live peacefully on our planet."
Dr. Al-Issa criticized "some" of right-wing or left-wing extremism, which resulted in distorting the image of the national poles, provoking division between them and misrepresenting the negatively aligned media. Meanwhile, he blamed exclusion for the emergence of religious, sectarian and ethnic racism, as well as marginalizing the role of women, who represent a major factor in the flourishing of societies, and have been able to be a source of wonderful inspiration through their words and actions, adding in this context, "Had not been for Allah's blessing us with the grace of the woman who is our first incubator, our first teacher and inspirer, we would not be here today celebrating our awareness of building bridges!"
His Excellency returned to the call for real peace, saying: "We want a sincere and sustainable peace, made by the true will of peace, a peace that embraces history," stressing that "this peace can be made only when it comes from the depths of the soul with its sincerity, purity and love that is good for all.
He explained that sincere love in its comprehensive sense is the greatest peacemaker, stressing in this context the responsibility of the family and education, starting from childhood and through the early stages of youth, which requires focusing the educational process on teaching shared values in an interactive manner, pointing out that the world has learned how to manufacture weapons of mass destruction, but has not learned about values.
It is noteworthy that the "Bridge Builder" Award has been granted over several years to a number of prominent international personalities, including, for example: former US President Barack Obama, the King of Norway, the Chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, and the current Director-General of the World Health Organization, and over the past years. Over these years, the awarding ceremony is annually attended by the royal family, the Prime Minister of Norway, and a number of ministers and parliamentarians.
The names of the winners were announced from the headquarters of the Nobel Peace Center and published on its website.