UAE can stop those who ‘hijack’ Islam

The UAE should act as a platform to fight those who have hijacked Islam and undo the damage they have done, officials agreed in the capital on Wednesday.

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ABU DHABI // The UAE should act as a platform to fight those who have hijacked Islam and undo the damage they have done, officials agreed in the capital on Wednesday.

Scholars, muftis and religious officials discussed pressing issues in the world today ranging from types of jihad, extremists’ obsession with takfir (excommunication), the history of suicide bombings, and caliphates.

The seminar, hosted by the UAE’s General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, aimed to come out of the discussion with practical ideas to “return to Islam its shining image”.

The authority’s chairman, Dr Mohammed Al Kaabi, said the UAE’s religious bodies were working with members of society and fellow specialists to achieve the goal.

“We aim to strengthen references of religious moderation and balance in this era. Seditions, personal interests, sectarianism and terrorism have risen,” he said. “Extremist groups have hijacked religion and called on Muslims to rebel against their rulers and issued fatwas to bomb and takfir whoever does not pay allegiance to them or support their extremism.”

The agreement reached was that a return to religious dialogue was essential.

The authority is always working on spreading security “to a society that preserves its identity and loyalty to the ruler and belonging to the homeland”.

Tolerance of non-Muslims and establishing intellectual security stood out through all of their programmes, he said.

Mustafa Ceric, the grand mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, suggested that UAE rulers provide a permanent platform for specialists to monitor and observe what is going on in the world in these areas.

“We should not sleep, we need to remain alert. Scholars should not only speak to each other, but also to those who need to listen to us,” he said.

“We should figure out what type of dialogue will be understood by the youth that are immersed in the seditions we live today.”

He cited the Quranic verse that addresses the Prophet Mohammed saying, “and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs”.

hdajani@thenational.ae