Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – Informed sources in the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that there is an impending conference planned to be held in the near future that will bring together Muslim scholars from various sects. The objective of the conference will be to confront the factors that cause divisions and disunity in religion, including ignorance, ethnic intolerance and extremism and the exploitation of sectarian conflicts as a means to achieve political goals.
According to the same sources, during the first phase of the action plan there will be intensive and detailed focus upon studying specific ideas, such as those related to the unity of the Ummah, achieving intellectual convergence, combating terrorism that is guised as faith and abolishing the practice of takfir (Muslims holding fellow Muslims disbelievers) among sects.
Last Saturday, 28 June, the second round of preliminary meetings was held at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah in which Muslim scholars convened to come up with a formula for the stipulations drafted by the Islamic Fiqh Academy as part of the decisions adopted in the exceptional Mecca Summit (September 2005).
“The aim behind the agreed plan is to transform the culture of dialogue into mainstream practice between scholars from different sects to the general Muslim public, in addition to setting visions related to the required mechanisms that media organizations in Islamic states lack and which would enable them to achieve their goal of ideological rapprochement. Education syllabuses would also play a major role,” according to sources.
Asharq Al-Awsat previously covered the first preliminary conference that was attended by eight prominent Muslim scholars representing different Islamic sects and in which a number of ideas and viewpoints were exchanged with the aim of promoting an understanding and rapprochement between the Islamic sects.
The objective of the meeting was two-fold; the first stage proposed to implement a scientific jurisprudential plan that seeks to examine the common ground and shared ideologies between the Islamic sects as a means to attain peaceful coexistence. The second stage, however, will focus on developing mechanisms that could help to carry out the aforementioned plan and disseminating throughout the Islamic states so that it may be executed.
Among the attendees were Dr. Sahih Bin Hamid, Jurist Mohammed al Taskhiri, Dr. Ali Ozik, Dr. Ahmed al Khalili, Dr. Abdul Jabbar Allawi and the Jurists Abu Bakr Khouri and Abdul Salam al Ebadi. The conference also proposed the formation of a committee that could formulate a comprehensive strategy to take into account the academic, jurisprudential and political dimensions while promoting and disseminating the concept of ideological rapprochement.
The timing of the conference is critical as it coincides with a number of political conflicts in the region, most notably in the Lebanese and Iraqi arenas.