As part of the Muslim Council of Elders’ noble message aimed at enhancing the values of peace, dialogue, tolerance, coexistence and human fraternity, the Council’s Secretary-General Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam looked to achieve this by meeting various important and prominent figures to coordinate efforts and achieve positive results.
Throughout 2022, the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam met a number of Islamic leaders and symbols. This began in Malaysia, where he met a number of Islamic religious leaders as well as visiting Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia and many youth in the southeast Asian nation.
Likewise, Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam participated at the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in the capital of Kazakhstan Nur-Sultan and met a number of Kazakh officials to discuss possible cooperation and a possible regional office for the Council in the Central Asian state.
During the conference’s duration, Judge Abdelsalam met Saudi Arabia's Minister of Religious Affairs Shaykh Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh as well as a delegation from Indonesian Nahdlatul Ulama Islamic Organization to discuss possible cooperation.
During his visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain, he met the Chairman of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs along with the Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Awqaf in the Kingdom along with other senior officials to coordinate the organization of the ‘Bahrain Dialogue Forum: East and West for Human Coexistence’ which was held in November 2022 under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The event was attended by His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders and His Holiness Pope Francis, Pontiff of the Catholic Church.
To achieve better communication between East and West Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Elders met with a number of leaders, ministers and ambassadors of European countries to discuss joint cooperation in promoting human fraternity. Abdelsalam met the President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in the Capital of East Timor Dili, which had adopted the Document on Human Fraternity as a national charter to be applied in the country’s school curriculum.
He also met Italy’s Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese in the Italian capital Rome. The pair discussed various cooperation opportunities including the integration of Muslim refugees in Europe while maintaining their religious identities as well as youth empowerment initiatives to achieve coexistence and human fraternity.
This was followed by a meeting with Ambassador Jean-Christophe Peaucelle, Advisor for Religious Affairs in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the meeting, both sides discussed potential cooperation in the fields of interreligious dialogue and countering extremism and hate. Likewise, there was a meeting with the Chargé d'Affaires at the Embassy of Montenegro in the UAE, Ms. Isidora Dabovic which discussed cooperation to advance human coexistence and ways to empower youth and women within their communities.
Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam also met with Albanian Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Ms. Megi Fino to discuss prospects for cooperation. He would also receive Albanian Ambassador to the UAE H.E. Ermal Dredha where they discussed cooperation to advance dialogue and coexistence, and how to empower youth to promote humanitarian values and peace in communities. Abdelsalam also met with the President of the Directorate of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Dr. Ali Erbaş in Abu Dhabi.
On the academic front, Abdelsalam met the President of Georgetown University, John J. DeGioia as part of the ‘Building Interreligious Solidarity’ conference held at Georgetown University in September 2022. Both sides discussed the role of academic institutions in promoting the noble values of the Document on Human Fraternity among youth.
In Africa, Judge Abdelsalam met the President of Senegal and Chairperson of the African Union Macky Sall in the capital of Senegal, Dakar. During the meeting, the pair discussed possible cooperation and initiatives between the Council and the nation of Senegal. He also met various religious and civil leaders in the west African nation.
The Secretary-General General of the Muslim Council of Elders also met the President of the Gambia Adama Barrow as part of the latter’s participation at the UN General Assembly taking place in New York City. During the meeting, the Gambian President expressed his appreciation of the Muslim Council of Elders and its Chairman, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb. He particularly pointed to the Council’s efforts in promoting dialogue between different religious groups and cultures. Judge Abdelsalam also met Mamadou Tangara, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of The Gambia. The meeting discussed issues surrounding interfaith dialogue and the promotion of peace and coexistence.
During the 9th United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum which was held in Fez, Morocco under the theme ‘Towards an Alliance of Peace: Living Together as One Humanity’, Judge Abdelsalam met with the President of Al-Qarawiyyin University Dr. Amal Jalal. The pair discussed the role of well-established universities in promoting the values of peaceful coexistence and human fraternity.
In terms of meetings with International Organizations in 2022, Judge Abdelsalam met the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund Natalia Kanem where the pair discussed matters related to combatting violence against women and children globally. The Secretary-General General of the Muslim Council of Elders also met the UN High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Ángel Moratinos where they discussed ways of raising awareness of the youth on issues related to coexistence and the rejection of hate, extremism and discrimination.
Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam also met in New York, in the margins of the UN General Assembly, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the Prevention of Genocide Alice Wairimu Nderitu. The meeting discussed various issues related to the role of religious leaders in combatting extremism digitally and on social media.
Judge also met the Chairman of the African Union Commission Professor Moussa Faki Mahamat in Tangier in the Kingdom of Morocco. The meeting discussed various topics including possible cooperation between the Council and the African Union Commission to promote peace and coexistence in Africa and beyond.
The Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders also participated in a number of international forums and conferences in 2022 that focus on spreading global coexistence. These participations reaffirmed the Council’s commitments to spreading the values of dialogue and acceptance of other as well as combatting extremism and discrimination by enhancing the role of religious leaders in the face of global challenges.