Istanbul: Islam happens to be a very moderate religion and it is absolutely compatible with the universal human norms, this was reiterated by the top Muslim scholars from across the globe in a conference held at Turkish city of Istanbul.
Leading Muslim scholars attended the conference and adopted a strongly worded resolution that reaffirmed Islam’s compatibility with universal human norms. They also called on religious institutions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and neighboring countries to help end violence. The document will be circulated to more than 160,000 mosques in Afghanistan so that its findings may trickle into individual consciences there.
Islamic scholars from Pakistan and Afghanistan were among the delegates to the conference on “Islamic Cooperation for a Peaceful Future in Afghanistan” held at a local hotel to figure out the rights and wrongs of the conflict in Afghanistan.
The conference was not the creationof a cleric but of Neamatollah Nojumi, a professor of conflict resolution at George Mason University near Virginia, USA, whocame to the subject the hard way.At the age of 14, he was a mujahid fighting the Soviets in his native Afghanistan.
“Now his (Nojumi’s) mission is to stop Afghans from fighting Afghans. The method is straightforward,” a newspaper article said.
It added, “Senior Afghan clerics meet with the world’s leading Islamic theologians to discuss suicide bombings, the targeting of civilians, the destruction of historical artifacts, even domestic violence.”
The final resolution said, “A crime committed in the name of Islam is acrime against Islam.”
Meanwhile, an Islamic scholar from India was quoted as saying in the article that NATO, not Pakistan, is complicating the situation in Afghanistan and the Kabul government is supported by a mere 10 percent of the population.
Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, who is closely associated with the ultra-orthodoxDeoband community, made those comments to an American journalist Andrew Finkel at Istanbul, who wrote the Times’ article.
At the same time, according to the article, Qasmi parts company with the Taliban when it comes to the use of violence. “Conflict will not solve conflict,” he told correspondent Finkel, who quoted him in the course of his article.
“Islam does not mean war,” he added.
“Although I was told not to identify participants without their permission for fear of reprisals by the Taliban, no one seemed afraid to call a spade a spade,” correspondent Finkel wrote.
“Much effort was spent debunking the notion that the struggle in Afghanistan is a holy war rather than a straightforward tussle for power,” he added.
The meeting was the third of its kind, and the overall effort has started to make a difference, according to Ataur Rahman Salim, Director of the Scientific Islamic Research Center in Kabul.
It is now easier to oppose the men of violence. “The majority of Islamicscholars are not afraid to speak out,” he was quoted as saying. But “some are sitting on the fence,” he added.
Several speakers supported the Taliban over the Afghan government and weremore critical of NATO bombings than of suicide attacks by insurgents, according to the article. Nor does Islam mean denying women access to education and health services, according to the draft of the final resolution cited in the article.The document also states that the violation of women’s rights contradicts the tenets of Islam.