International Islamic Conference in Amman

Sheila Musaji

Posted Sep 23, 2005      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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International Islamic Conference in Amman

by Sheila Musaji

In July an International Islamic Conference was held in Amman, Jordan.  More than 170 religious scholars (Sunni and Shia and including Ibadi�s and Ismaili�s ) from all over the world met and produced a historical document.

The statement’s terms of reference included religious edicts (fatwas) which had been issued previously by ten of the most preeminent global Islamic scholars.  These fatwas were issued by Their Eminences:
- Grand Imam Sheikh Al Azhar Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi;
- Grand Ayatollah Al Sayyid Ali Al Sistani;
- Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Jumaa;
- a compendium of Shi’i clerics (both Ja’fari and Zeidi);
- Grand Mufti of the Sultanate of Oman Ahmad Bin Hamad Al Khalili;
- the Islamic Fiqh Academy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia;
- the Grand Council for Religious Affairs, Turkey;
- Grand Mufti of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Sheikh Izzeddine Al Khateeb Al Tamimi, and the members of its National Fatwa Committee;
- and Sheikh Dr. Yusuf Al Qaradawi.

The statement covered four critical points:

1- forbids declaring any adherent to any one of the eight schools of jurisprudence or to Sufism, an apostate;

2- acknowledges the agreement among the eight schools on the fundamental principles of Islamic belief and practice;

3- instructs the eight schools to establish a mechanism by which only qualified clergy could issue religious edicts and forbade the issuance of edicts by unqualified clergy;

4- affirms the necessity and benefit of dialogue among the eight schools and urges Muslims to eschew discord and instead unite and fortify affinity among Muslim people and states.�

Point number 3 is fundamental to undermining the legitimacy of so called Islamist terrorism. This declaration makes clear that none of these supposed fatwas is legitimate or Islamic.  Islam has united and declared the terrorists to be in breach of the Islamic faith

S. Abdullah Schleiffer who was present at this conference wrote about this in an article in which he called the conference statement �A Theological Counter Attack Against Terrorism�. He noted that this was an important historical moment that �Will be remembered as that moment when mainstream Muslim scholars acknowledged that terrorism was not only a security problem to be dealt with by state security agencies enjoying growing community support, but a theological problem within to be dealt with boldly by scholars and Muslim intellectuals.�

What is shocking is the lack of attention this has received in the mainstream press in the United States and Europe.  Such a historical gathering with so many Muslim scholars making such clear statements on critical issues should clearly be front page news.  The reality is that it has received almost no press. 

As King Abdullah of Jordan (the host of the conference) said  “the West and Islam are not at war,” rather, he pointed out, “there are those who think otherwise—who believe that there is, or will be, a ‘clash of civilizations.’” What is worse, said the king, “there are those who want conflict to occur, and are actively working to that end.”

Muslim scholars have come together and strongly spoken out against intolerance, violence and terrorism, and they have been ignored.

The mainstream media’s refusal to acknowledge such an important conference and its statements can only encourage such a clash of civilizations.

See also Muslim Voices Against Terrorism for a collection of such statements and fatwas against terrorism that have been issued by various scholars and organizations around the world.

by courtesy & � 2005 The American Muslim

Published originally at The American Muslim : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”

Sheila Musaji is the editor of The American Muslim