The essence of Islam, the religion he introduced, which is an extension of Judaism and Christianity and the final revelation, is to worship the One God, believe in His angels, messengers and prophets and the Day of Judgment. In worshipping God and preparing for the day they will be judged on their deeds, Muslims are expected to perform certain rituals and obligations as well as to be exemplary human beings in their behaviour towards all people and in their lifestyle.
Unfortunately, evil-minded individuals and groups seeking to sow conflict and antagonism have distorted these principles, says Dr Abdulaziz A Alkhedheiri, Deputy Governor of Makkah. They are hijacking the religion and misrepresenting it for personal gains and foul agendas.
Dr Alkhedheiri explains that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, from his position of responsibility and duty, felt the need to call for an international dialogue that is based on the exchange of and pollination of ideas in a civilised discourse, aiming to abridge differences and establish harmony while preserving cultural and religious diversity on the principle of mutual respect and understanding.
The King has launched his call for dialogue from inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the forum of the National Dialogue, then expanded that initiative in an Islamic dialogue and consequently in an international dialogue.
This Islamic message of coexistence, elaborates Dr Alkhedheiri, in addition to its intellectual basis, has a developmental outlook for Saudi Arabia. In the Makkah region, the message has been crystallised in a development strategy that is founded on two main aspects, nurturing the human being and developing the place, and making the holy Kaaba the centre of this strategy.
In the human aspect, the focus is on a number of social programs that cater to the direct relationship and interaction among the residents and emphasise family connections and teamwork spirit in order to achieve a fine society free from drugs and crimes. The goal is to have a hospitable Makkan society for the hajjis and Umrah performers.
The second aspect focuses on developing the different locations which Hajj and Umrah performers encounter, while not neglecting the needs of the local residents of Makkah themselves, whether Saudis or non-Saudis. For that, the government of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, adopted the implementation of several developmental projects that achieve comfort and security for the visitors to Makkah and the residents, while taking into consideration transportation means, habitation and livelihood.
The idea for this World Report, says Dr Alkhedheiri, is to clarify the message of Saudi Arabia and its own responsibility towards achieving world peace and the role of Makkah Al-Mukaramah in spreading the culture of dialogue and intercultural interaction, while also highlighting some of the efforts in developing the place through projects being implemented in Makkah.
Dr Alkhedheiri extended his sincere thanks to Miss Idil Demirel, Project Director of World Report, for working together with Prince Khaled Al Faisal (Governor of Makkah) and himself in publishing this unique Makkah Special Report. “We believe that through this publication we are sending the correct message about this Holy City to the entire world,” he said.