Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Issa

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Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa
Secretary General of the Muslim World League
Assumed office
12 August 2016
Preceded byAbdallah Ben Abdel Mohsen At-Turki
Minister of Justice
In office
14 February 2009 – 29 January 2015
Prime MinisterKing Abdullah
King Salman
Preceded byAbdullah bin Muhammad Al Sheikh
Succeeded byWaleed Al-Samani
Personal details
Born (1965-06-10) 10 June 1965 (age 54)
NationalitySaudi Arabian
Alma materImam Muhammad bin Saud University

Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Issa (Arabic: محمد بن عبد الكريم العيسى‎; born 9 June 1965) is a Saudi Arabian politician, Secretary General of the Muslim World League,[1] President of the International Islamic Halal Organization, and former Minister of Justice.

Al-Issa is considered a leading global voice on moderate Islam as well as a key figure in the fight to combat extremist ideology.[2][3] Religious leaders and government officials alike have commended Al-Issa for his efforts to promote moderation, and cooperation and coexistence among all people.[4][5][6]

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York and an influential member of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, referred to Al-Issa as the "most eloquent spokesperson in the Islamic world for reconciliation and friendship among the religions of the world."[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Al-Issa was born in Riyadh on 10 June 1965.[8][9] He obtained a bachelor of arts degree in Comparative Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) at Imam Muhammad bin Saud University.[10] He holds a master of arts degree and PhD in Comparative Judicial Studies as well as in Studies in General Law and Constitutional Law from Imam Muhammad bin Saud University.[8]


After graduation, Al-Issa began to work at Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University as a faculty member.[10] He became vice president to the board of grievances (a legal body for arbitration) in 2007, and he served there until 2009.[10][11] He was appointed Minister of Justice to the Saudi cabinet on 14 February 2009 in a major cabinet reshuffle, replacing Abdullah bin Muhammad Al Sheikh.[12][13] Al Sheikh had been in office since 1992.[14] The appointment of Al-Issa as Minister of Justice was part of King Abdullah's reform initiatives.[15][16]

Since the Board of Grievances was left by Al-issa; the executions have increased in the kingdom, from 69 in 2010 to 158 in 2015 [17] - Saudi courts are affiliated with the Board of Grievances (An independent body affiliated with the King) and do not belong to the Ministry of Justice [111]. Saudi-Arabia continued to engage in human rights violations Atrocities such as the beheading of Amina Nasser, a Saudi Arabian woman accused and convicted of "witchcraft and sorcery" in 2011[18], and the imprisonment of Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian activist sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in 2014 for 'starting an online forum for social and political debate [19].

Issa was appointed Secretary General of the Muslim World League on 4 August 2016.[20]


Issa argued in a lecture at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh in 2012 that Salafism is only an approach and that it should not be viewed as Islam. He further emphasized that Salafi approach is moderate and that it means following and obeying the ancestors’ belief and values in regard to the understanding of Islam.[21]

Issa acknowledges the horror of the Holocaust and denounced the efforts of Holocaust denial. He advocates for Muslim immigrants to Western countries to integrate socially, in contrast to Wahhabi ideology.[22] In January 2020, Issa led a delegation of Islamic scholars to visit Srebrenica in Bosnia, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, during the 75th anniversary of its liberation.[23]


  1. ^ "Dr. Al-Issa takes over as secretary general of MWL". The International Islamic News Agency (IINA). Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  2. ^ "MWL chief receives World's Religions Peace Award". Arab News. 20 February 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  3. ^ Ahmari, Sohrab (22 October 2019). "A voice for Muslim-world moderation". New York Post. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Senegal president honors Muslim World League chief for efforts to spread moderation". Arab News. 7 July 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Muslim World League cited in US for its anti-extremism campaign". Arab News. 9 February 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  6. ^ Woods, John. "Cardinal Dolan Hosts Leader of Muslim World League". Catholic New York. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  7. ^ "@CardinalDolan welcomed HE Dr. Mohammad Al Issa". Twitter. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Minister of Justice". Saudi Embassy Washington. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Mohamad bin Abdul Karim Issa". GLP. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  10. ^ a b c "Profiles". Saudi Gazette. 15 February 2009. Archived from the original on 24 September 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  11. ^ Christopher Boucek (June 2009), "Saudi Arabia's king changes the guard" (PDF), Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst, Carnegie Endowment, archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2010, retrieved 5 May 2012
  12. ^ "Council of Senior Ulema reconstituted". Saudi Gazette. Riyadh. 15 February 2009. Archived from the original on 15 September 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  13. ^ "King Abdullah Conducts Major Cabinet Reshuffle". Asharq Alawsat. 15 February 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  14. ^ "The Council of Ministers". Saudia Online. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  15. ^ "King Abdullah Reshuffles Cabinet, Embarks on New Reform Initiative". US-Saudi Arabian Business Council. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  16. ^ "Saudi King appoints first woman to council". CNN. 14 February 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Number of executions carried out by Saudi-Arabia from 2007 to June 2017". Statista. June 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  18. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Beheading for 'sorcery' shocking". Amnesty International. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  19. ^ "Doudi writes to his dad in prison in Saudi Arabia". Amnesty International. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Dr. Al-Issa took office as Secretary General of the Muslim World League". Muslim World League. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Salafism is only an approach, says justice minister". The Muslim Times. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  22. ^ Hannah, John. "It's Time for Saudi Arabia to Stop Exporting Extremism". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Muslim World League chief heads delegation to genocide sites in Bosnia and Poland". Arab News. 22 January 2020.
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Abdallah Ben Abdel Mohsen At-Turki
Secretary General of Muslim World League
2016 –
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Abdullah Aal Al Sheikh
Minister of Justice
2009 – 2015
Succeeded by
Waleed Al-Samani[1]

  1. ^ "Saudi King orders major cabinet shake-up". Asharq Al-Awsat daily newspaper. Retrieved 30 January 2015.