Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Clerics in West…Voice of Moderation to Face Extremism | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55359571

People listen to the explanations of guide Mohamed Latahi (C), as they visit the Strasbourg Grand Mosque during an open day weekend for mosques in France, January 9, 2016. Reuters

Cairo-Experts and observers of Islamic communities in the West believe that Muslim clerics in Europe could play a major role in spreading the voice of moderation and halting the extremism boosted by some forces and organizations in Western societies.

Islamophobia has grown over the past years following the terrorist attacks carried out by extremist groups; everyday, we hear about protests against Islam in European countries. Therefore, Muslims of the West have faced myriad of problems that have forced them to constantly denounce these extremist acts.

Muslims in the West, particularly preachers, seek to take serious steps to confront increasing terrorist attacks in these countries, trying to clear Islam from such acts. Some observers see that the performance and efforts of those preachers have been weak and insufficient, which facilitated the mission of terrorist groups in controlling the spirits and minds of youth with their distorted concepts of Islam. Observers note that some clerics are not qualified enough to lead awareness campaigns because they lack the needed religious knowledge and ignore the real problems in the countries they reside in.

Considering the importance of Muslim clerics’ role in Western countries, Egypt has decided to organize an international conference gathering committees and Dar al-Fatwa from across the world. The conference will be held under the sponsorship of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi with the participation of 80 Muslim and Arab countries from different continents. Shawki Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, said that the conference seeks to weaken the influence of extremist groups and to stress the significant role of Muslim clerics in the West in spreading moderate Islam and its concepts.

Sources in the Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa have stated that Cairo’s conference is set to be held on October 17 and will discuss many important topics related to the Muslim communities and the challenges they face. The sources added that the conference’s main focus will be ways to confront extremist groups that use “Fatwa” as a tool to destroy societies, spread chaos, and distort religious texts to serve their interests and justify their crimes.

The Egyptian Grand Mufti said that scholars participating in the conference will exert all efforts to build a moderate bloc by qualifying religious leaders and figures in the West and training them on how to face extremism and challenges.

In fact, some of the Muslim communities living in Western countries have complained from the weak performance and interaction of clerics living in their entourage.

Dr. Allam considered that Islam -like other religions- has suffered from an increasing number of unqualified figures who didn’t receive the required religious education that allow them to issue the right fatwas in ethics and religion. He added that this delinquency has provided extremists with the opportunity to spread false clarifications on Islam to achieve their political goals and spread chaos.

Meanwhile, observers stressed the need for more preachers who master dialogue skills to serve in the Western communities aiming at facing the speeches of hatred, extremism, and racism and to combat members who spread false ideas on Islam.

*Importance of translation
Said Mahmoud, an Egyptian imam and preacher, considered that translation plays a major role in the act of preaching because it’s highly important to communicate with the Western communities by using their language to adjust the image of Islam and dialogue with Muslims across the world.

Mahmoud added that the Muslim preacher living in the West should work on revealing the truth behind Islamophobia caused by ignorance and to warn from its negative impacts on global peace.

Finally, informed sources in Egypt have asserted that Cairo’s conference intends to encourage Muslims in the West on cooperating with governments and Islamic institutions to protect the reputation of Islam.