Solidarity: Ulema urged to condemn terrorism

Speakers urge clergy to issue unified response to terror.


Our Correspondent September 19, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


Except for a few individuals, Pakistani religious scholars have never collectively come up to condemn acts of terrorism as un-Islamic. Pakistani ulema have never been able to muster courage to come up and issue fatwas against brutal bombings in the country where thousands of innocent people died.


International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) President Dr Mumtaz Ahmed expressed these views while speaking at an international conference of religious scholars “The emerging challenges and the responsibilities of Islamic Scholars” organised by Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) on Tuesday.

“To most challenging situations arising in Pakistan, religious scholars’ response has always been lukewarm and pathetically emotional,” Dr Ahmed said while noting the recent anti-US protests were over a controversial film that was made by an individual and not the United States government.

“It was unfortunate that in Muslim world education is deemed as spending, whereas the rest of the world considers it as an investment,” said Dr Qibla Ayaz, vice-chancellor of the University of Peshawar, adding that growing trend of extremism is rooted in the lack of education.

Dr Arif Zamhari, a religious scholar from Nahdlatul Ulama in Indonesia, termed lack of education and modern knowledge as the biggest challenge of the Muslim world. “Muslims lag far behind other nations in almost every field of modern education,” said Dr Zamhari.

About terrorism, Dr Zamhari said religious scholars in his country took an initiative to fight the extremists’ ideology with a moderate one. However, he said the government in Indonesia and other Muslim countries must also come forward to help scholars in the effort to eliminate extremist thinking.

Senator Moulana Mohammad Khan Shirani, chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, said the Muslim world should stop finding faults in others for its own failures. “Instead of focusing on differences, the world should highlight commonalities in different beliefs and religions,” Shinwari said.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2012.

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