Islamic culture is not calling for violence, said Abdulla Al-Mulla, Director of the Qatar Islamic Cultural Center.
“We respect other cultures. But like any other cultures, some groups will do something that would be negative for this culture. But we should not generalize the act that all Muslims are like that. If there is a group which did something not acceptable, even from Islam, we should not say that it was Islam. It is normal in every society, there are people who are extremists,” Al-Mulla told The Korea Herald last week.
|Abdulla Al-Mulla, Director of Qatar Islamic Cultural Center, speaks last week at Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, central Seoul. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)|
He pointed out that the Western media was to blame for the negative prejudices on Islamic culture.
“I remember that in Japan, the army did something very terrible. But people did not start to say that all Japanese are like that. But what happened in the recent media was that people started to say that all Muslims are like that. That is what made negative impact and idea about Muslims,” he said.
Situated in Doha, the center plays a central role in spreading and promoting Islamic culture worldwide. It offers exhibitions and activities to introduce Islamic culture to non-Arab visitors, as well as Arabic language classes, mosque zones and classes teaching new Muslims how to pray.
For someone with much on his shoulders, Al-Mulla is young. Born in 1982, he has been serving the post since the opening of the center in 2007.
“About half Qatar’s population is under the age of 20, so the investment on youth is high in the State of Qatar, and youth has a big role to play in society,” explained Al-Mulla.
He was invited to Korea by the Korea Foundation to learn more about the culture here. No specific plans are made yet, but he will definitely look into making more exchanges between the two cultures, he said.
Though the two cultures seem distant, Al-Mulla showed that there are some similarities. Mentioning how in the Islamic culture one visits their parents’ homes everyday as a show of respect, he spoke highly of Koreans’ culture of respecting the elderly.
“I see that you have to give tea with two hands. This type of respect for the elderly is also a good thing in the Islamic point of view and what we should do,” he said.
“I noticed in your culture the importance of saving and preserving the environment, which we have also in the Islamic culture, where the prophet Muhammed encouraged us to preserve the environment, including preserving trees, water, animals, keeping cities clean,” he added.
It says in the Koran that tribes and nations are made to get to know each other, he said.
“The main concerns of Islam are that we should meet each other, know each other more and live together. In the golden days of Muslims (which he explained to have spanned from 700 CE to 1600 CE), nations outside of and within the Muslim countries lived together, and there were no problems as we see now. This is what we need to do. We should try to build bridges between cultures, between the Muslim and the Catholic cultures especially, of course,” he added.
By Park Min-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)