MPAC to Release Declaration Against Extremism
On Saturday, Nov. 2, MPAC will release the “Declaration Against Extremism,” authored by MPAC’s co-founder and senior adviser Dr. Maher Hathout, which defines the dangers of extremism and issues a clarion call for action. The Declaration will be released at the Islamic Center of Southern California’s conference on “Islamic Perspectives on Extremism and Moderation,” which will feature MPAC leaders Salam Al-Marayati and Haris Tarin as well as other prominent national leaders of the American Muslim community.
The Declaration challenges Muslims to respond to all forms of extremism through engagement, positive articulations of theology and a willingness to stand up to and push back against those voices who use the garb of religious authority to further their own political and social agendas.
The Declaration Against Extremism reads, in part:
“Extremists are defining the public face of Islam, leaving the mainstream largely on the defensive, vehemently wanting to share the true message of Islam. The voices of extremism are very loud; their voices garner false but almost instantaneous authority because they are cloaked in religious garb and theological jargon. The dangerous power these voices have mislead people with false claims of religious superiority and authority.”
Many Muslims around the world are constantly challenged by having to respond to the voices of extremists who in no way represent their understanding of faith and their relationships with people of other faiths. Many Muslims feel that their voices are not heard; even as they seek to platforms to help their fellow citizens better understand what their faith truly represents.
The Declaration will serve as a launch pad for upcoming projects and campaigns MPAC will launch in the coming months, including a toolkit which will empower communities to better organize and address the potential for violent extremism. We encourage leaders, activists, students and all concerned Muslims to share the document with their congregations and facilitate discussion on this important topic.
More on the Conference
On Saturday, Nov. 2, MPAC’s Dr. Maher Hathout, Haris Tarin and Dr. Nayyer Ali will speak at at the Islamic Center of Southern California’s (ICSC) conference “Islamic Perspectives on Extremism and Moderation.”
The contemporary extreme Islamic ideology can be traced back to the Wahhabi movement in Central Arabia in the mid 18th century. It aimed to purge Islam from foreign influences and to restore it to its pristine status of the mid 7th century. This retrospective approach relied on a literal interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah. This movement ignored the unprecedented socioeconomic changes taking place outside Arabia and looked at the world as Muslims and Infidels. It considered Islamic law (shariah) as God’s divine and exact mandate, with no room for interpretation (Ijtihad). This puritanical orthodoxy was confined to Saudi Arabia until the mid 20th century.
In spite of Quran advocating moderation, extremism is prevalent across the world. The ICSC Fourth Annual Conference on Contemporary Islamic Thought will address the roots of Islamic extremism and draw a road map to a moderate and balanced way of life that respects human rights and advocate justice and the common good.
The release of this document was delayed, but the Declaration Against Extremism is now being released. You can read the declaration in PDF format here. MPAC will hold a press conference in Los Angeles on Friday to announce the release.
Originally published 10/29/2013