Somali delegate visits counterterrorism coalition in Riyadh

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Some of the world’s leading scholars have gathered in Makkah for a conference titled “Building Bridges between Islamic Schools of Thought and Sects.”

The gathering, being held under the patronage of King Salman, and organized by the Muslim World League, began on Sunday evening at a venue near the Grand Mosque. 

The two-day conference began with a speech by the grand mufti of the Kingdom and president of the Council of Senior Scholars, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh.

“Islam is a religion of unity, commanding coalition and unity of word and rank, and warning against division and disagreement,” Al-Asheikh said. He added that the prophetic sunnah is filled with injunctions aimed at unifying Muslims and eliminating animosity and hatred.

He said: “When we emphasize this great principle brought by Islam, which calls for every effort to reconcile among Muslims and to avoid anything that may divide them, we address this discourse firstly to their scholars, as Muslims view them as a source of fatwas and religious guidance.”

He said that when scholars engage in dialogue courteously and with good intentions, they create an atmosphere of togetherness. Muslims, in general, consider scholars role models whom they want to emulate, he added. 

Al-Asheikh thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their efforts to unify and promote the well-being of Muslims.

MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa announced that the aim of the scholars is to produce a document that outlines guiding principles on ways to build bridges between diverse Muslim communities. 

He said: “We are delighted in the MWL to launch the historic conference, the first of its kind, in the sacred precinct and blessed month, in continuation of the contents of the Makkah Document.” 

Al-Issa said the gathering of scholars from across the globe was an indication that the Muslim world was in good shape. He praised the scholars for seeking to ensure there remained an emphasis on the key tenets of Islam, which was the declaration of faith and other pillars. 

Al-Issa warned that there were some people using traditional and modern forms of communication to fuel divisions and conflict. The only way to counter this form of sectarianism was continued dialogue focused on the core values of Islam. 

Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, head of the UAE Fatwa Council and a member of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, also underscored the importance of unity among Muslims, which he said can be achieved by adhering to the five pillars of Islam. 

Bin Bayyah praised the MWL’s officials for their continued efforts to foster unity and peaceful coexistence among Muslims.

In his speech, Hissein Brahim Taha, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the event was a part of the Kingdom’s efforts to play a leading role in the well-being of Muslims across the globe. Taha praised the MWL for its efforts in this regard.

The opening session featured speeches delivered by scholars from Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkiye, Iraq, Malaysia and several African nations. 

On the sidelines of the conference, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the MWL and the OIC aimed at ensuring the implementation of the conference’s resolutions.

In addition, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Islamic Fiqh Academy of the MWL and the International Islamic Fiqh Academy under the auspices of the OIC, to boost research and propagate a culture of tolerance and moderation among Muslims. 

The scholars continued their discussions on Monday on the key topics of unity and respectful discourse among those from diverse sections of the Islamic world.

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