King: Be modern, but don’t shun Islamic values

Arab news: The glittering Islamic culture and civilization is a unifying force for millions of Muslims all over the world, said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, urging Muslims to stand united in upholding the teachings of Islam.
In his keynote speech at the annual conference of the Muslim World League (MWL) in Makkah, King Abdullah also called upon Muslims to embrace modernity without discarding their cultural values.
“Islamic culture is the identity of the Ummah. It connects its different parts, bonding them together. It links a Muslim with hundreds of millions of other Muslims scattered around this world,” the king said.
He emphasized the need to take care of the Islamic religion to strengthen Islamic culture. Makkah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah read out the king’s speech.
King Abdullah welcomed the millions of pilgrims who have arrived from different parts of the world to perform Haj. “Our objective is to enable them to perform Haj in the best and safest possible manner. We want them to return home safely after gaining immense reward.”
King Abdullah said: “Our Islamic Ummah is a full-fledged nation. It has a dazzling civilized experience and a rich heritage. Our nation is distinct from others. It is the best nation given to mankind; it believes in Allah, promotes virtue and prohibits evil. It carries the final universal message of God, a message of enlightenment, compassion and mercy.”
The king urged Muslims to defend their Islamic culture through legitimate means.
“It must be understood that the fulfillment of its obligations through international and humanitarian cooperation does not conflict with its cultural specificities. Human development and related concepts, such as freedom, democracy and human rights, shall not fall outside the framework of the cultural environment of the Ummah.”
King Abdullah urged Muslims to acquire modern developmental means. “Modernism is an effective way of keeping apace with our time. We have to deal with its problems and circumstances. We must take advantage of what is available in scientific development and knowledge and the various systems of life. This requires from us to establish positive relationships and cooperation with others.”
He urged scholars attending the conference to study and analyze the cultural crisis facing the Ummah. “You must treat and deal with it with wisdom and persuasive arguments. This culture must be straightened and put on the right tracks. Our system has been characterized by moderation and the rejection of extremism, violence and terrorism,” he added.
The king noted Saudi Arabia’s successful campaigns against extremism and terrorism. “We have succeeded in depriving deviant minds of all possible outlets in which they had tried to find escape routes. We have dried the sources used to spread their propaganda,” he said while commending the support of scholars, media and security officers in achieving this objective.
He commended the MWL and its office-bearers for their distinct efforts in enlightening the Ummah about its obligations toward its religion and homelands.
The MWL’s relentless work in refuting suspicions and falsehoods leveled against Islam, its civilization, its symbols and holy places, and countering terrorism and extremism are to be lauded, he added.
Prince Mishaal extended the king’s greetings to all participants of the conference.
In his speech, MWL Secretary-General Abdullah Al-Turki highlighted the cultural challenges facing the Islamic nation. He called for effective steps to correct the image of Muslims with others. “Muslims must contribute to addressing different humanitarian issues and their culture must be an influential tool while dealing with others,” he said.

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