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Rosenberg interviews top Saudi Sheikh: How 9/11 attacks moved him to combat radical Islam, promote peace

Find the must-read Part One of the interview on our sister site, ALL ARAB NEWS.

Joel C. Rosenberg and Sheikh Mohammed al-Issa in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in September 2019. (photo credit: All Arab News staff)

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulkarim al-Issa is the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, the largest non-governmental Muslim organization in the world, with offices in 139 countries.

As such, he is one of the most influential Sunni Muslims on the planet.

He is also a founding member of the Advisory Board of ALL ARAB NEWS, the first one, in fact, to join the board.

Joel C. Rosenberg, founder of both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS, first met the Sheikh in Riyadh when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (a.k.a., “MBS”) invited him to bring an Evangelical delegation to meet with him and other senior Saudi leaders in November 2018. The spent many hours together then, and again when Rosenberg returned to the Kingdom in September 2019.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Issa meets with Rosenberg and a delegation of Evangelical leaders in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in September 2019. (photo credit: All Arab News staff)

As Rosenberg notes in his story, "it was the first time the Saudi royal family had ever invited Christian leaders to visit the palace and engage in talks in the more than 300 years since the al-Saud family has ruled on the Arabian Peninsula."

And the Sheikh, who is close to MBS, was in the room both times.

Indeed, he considers it his personal mission not to engage in politics, but to theologically combat radicals and violent extremists, advance moderate Islam, and "build bridges" of peace between Muslims, Jews, Christians and those of all faiths.

What is particularly note-worthy about Rosenberg's exclusive interview with the Sheikh is to see how the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- masterminded by Osama bin Laden -- profoundly impacted another Saudi national.

Bin Laden's attacks were "a terrorist crime like no other in human history," the Sheikh said, and they altered the course of his life and his mission.

As the Sheikh explains in the interview, he has been engaged in many peace-making initiatives since he was elected head of the Muslim World League in 2016.

One made international headlines, when he partnered with the American Jewish Committee to lead the first-ever Muslim delegation to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland in January.

He is actively teaching Muslims around the world to understand the lessons of the Holocaust and to combat anti-Semitism.

The Sheikh also tells Rosenberg why the Saudi Crown Prince wanted to reach out to Evangelical Christians -- inviting Rosenberg to bring not just one but two historic delegations of Evangelical leaders to visit the Kingdom, including last year during the week of 9/11.

And why more outreach to Christians is needed.

Part One of the interview is now published on ALL ARAB NEWS.

It is well worth reading in full.

NOTE: More of the Sheikh's interview will be published in the days ahead.

Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

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