‘Muslims’ status not glossy nor gloomy as media depict’

Abu Dhabi

The condition of Muslim minorities across the globe are not so glossy and not so gloomy as reported by some sections of the media, a UN official said here on Tuesday.

Some international media outlets portray Muslims as frustrated and socially marginalised groups that pose a threat to their societies, said Tariq Al Kurdi, president of the UN Conference on Minority issues in the world, in his speech at the International Congress on Muslim Minorities.

However, Muslims in different parts of the world seek peaceful coexistence. They literally demonstrate that they could be drivers for positive change, Al Kurdi said. They find the situations around them as an opportunity rather than a liability.

He suggested Muslim communities should participate in the political and cultural life of their societies. They should adopt new technologies and use culture and art to promote mutual understanding with other communities.

Another top official said a modern culture of cultural pluralism would minimise rift between minorities and majority community in a society.

“This multicultural approach can create unity through diversity,” said Rexhep Meidani, former president of Albania, in his speech.

“It seems the best solution is this kind of shared societies,” he said.

He said it is a fact that there are problems between minorities and majority communities.

Meidani stressed the importance of integrating the minority culture into the majority culture while retaining their identity.

Andreas Kiefer, secretary general of the conference for local and regional authorities of the European Council, said his organisation would extend all support to the efforts of the World Council of Muslim Minorities based in Abu Dhabi.


Japanese Muslims face stereotypes despite being peaceful

Abu Dhabi

Although Muslims in Japan are living very peacefully, they face the stereotype of being extremists because of several incidents of [Islamic] terrorist attacks, a Buddhist leader from Japan said here on Tuesday.

“According to historical records, Islam reached Japan by the end of 19th century. There were only two mosques in Japan in 1980. Since then many Muslims came to Japan looking for jobs and Muslim community was expanded and number of mosques went up to 90,” said Kesho Nevano, president of the International Buddhist Movement in Japan in her speech at the International Congress on Muslim Minorities.

She said, however, Japanese majority never oppresses the minorities in the country. Minority’s issues depend on the attitude of the majority community in a society, Nevano said.

She said she was deeply moved by the invitation extended to her to speak at a conference in the Middle East.

Nevano said she was happy to know about the UAE having a minister for tolerance and the schools in the country teach tolerance.


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