In the international press conference held in the Nigerian Capital, Abuja, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar affirms: Boko Haram does not represent Islam … We call its members to repent

  • | Wednesday, 18 May, 2016
In the international press conference held in the Nigerian Capital, Abuja, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar affirms: Boko Haram does not represent Islam … We call its members to repent

- I came to Nigeria to affirm we are of one position against those who promote extremism and terrorism

His eminence Prof. Dr. Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Al-Azhar Grand Imam affirms that the Boko Haram group and the similar terrorist groups that follow the same approach do not represent Islam. On the contrary, Islam, al-Tayyeb continued, is innocent from them and from their criminal acts. Islam, al-Tayyeb added, was never a religion of killing, violence or destruction; it is rather a religion that calls for life, peace, mercy and construction.
In response to a question asked by a journalist in the international press conference held in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, his eminence said, “We have learnt and we have been teaching our students in al-Azhar al-Sharif that the Noble Qur’an has actually and clearly laid down the principles and means of calling others; the Qur’an did so in such an easy way which is even understood by Muslim children. It clarified that calling to Allah must be fulfilled with wisdom and good admonition. As well, the Qur’an, the Grand Imam continued, never asks Muslims to carry weapons to kill people. Thus, whosoever does otherwise never follows the methodology of al-Azhar al-Sharif anyway.
The Grand Imam continued, “We call such people to repent, to refrain from such acts, to adhere to the congregation of Muslims to which the Qur’an calls, and to ponder over their positions very carefully. This call is directed for all such people around the world.”In the same vein, al-Tayyeb pointed out that Allah, the Almighty has emphatically forbidden the shedding of blood, indicating that Islam is the only religion that promises severe punishment both in this worldly life and the life to come for those who kill people and legitimatize the shedding of their bloods. Thus, the Muslim is not allowed to kill or fight against others unless he is defending himself. Islam furthermore, al-Tayyeb affirmed, commissioned only the ruler or his deputy to apply the legal penalties and thus it does not leave them to be applied by a particular group or organization.
In the same connection, his eminence al-Azhar Grand Imam indicated that difference is of the Divine Laws, referring meanwhile to the fact that the relationship between mankind must be founded upon knowing one another. In addition, al-Tayyeb stated that such terrorist groups defame Islam, to the extent that, al-Tayyeb added, Muslims are harmed by these groups much more than any other people. He furthermore affirmed that Muslims’ battles were defensive, to avert the dangers of those waiting for attacking them.
The Grand Imam went on, “I came here to meet Nigerians from all classes, to affirm that we are of one position against those who promote extremism and terrorism. The future will witness our cooperation with Nigerian people to show the true image of Islam to all people and to combat all forms of terrorism.”
Replying to another question on the goal of his eminence’s visit to Nigeria, al-Tayyeb affirmed that this visit came in response to the invitation directed to him by the Nigerian President Muhammad Bukhari, stating meanwhile that the ultimate goal of this visit is to show the true essence of Islam and that it is a religion of peace for humanity and the entire world. Al-Tayyeb added also that the visit aims at refuting all the attempts of defaming this pure religion here and there.
His eminence the Grand Imam added, “Since more than one thousand years, al-Azhar main issue of concern is to spread religion the religion of Islam as pure as it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)- a religion which calls for mercy and peace for all mankind, animals and the entire universe. This visit has no further goals but to clarifying the true meaning of Islam to the whole world.” The Grand Imam added, “We are not politicians and al-Azhar knew not about policy since one thousand years.”
Answering a question on the scientific and academic relations between al-Azhar al-Sharif and the Nigerian religious institutions, Sheikh of al-Azhar says, “Al-Azhar is an academic institution which has relations with all the Muslim World. That is because we have about 2 million students studying in the pre-University stage; another half million in the University stage including about 40 thousand international students coming from 66 countries. Nigeria ranks third as to the number of students studying at al-Azhar, after Indonesia and Malaysia.” Al-Tayyeb further pointed out that one dimension of this tour has to do mainly with the scholarly communication via the Nigerian students studying at al-Azhar and via teachers missioned by al-Azhar to teach the Sharia sciences in the Institutes of Nigeria.
In response to a question on the efforts exerted by al-Azhar to spread the culture of dialogue and co-existence, his eminence the Grand Imam said, “Internationally, al-Azhar al-Sharif established Al-Azhar Observer in Foreign Languages which spots all the issues and misconceptions aroused against Islam in eight languages; after being translated, these misconceptions are referred to a group of specialized scholars who take the responsibility of answering them and then publishing them in different languages to place emphasis on the values of tolerance and co-existence.”
In the same connection, al-Tayyeb added, “As well, al-Azhar has a media center which spots all the international events around the clock, interfaith dialogue center with special focus on Christianity, as well as the Family House. In the same vein, we have launched the east-west interfaith dialogue from Florence in Italy. We have also paid visits to Britain, Indonesia and Germany. Today, I am here in Nigeria to implant and affirm the culture of peace, dialogue and co-existence. Furthermore, al-Azhar in collaboration with the Muslim Council of Elders had sent Missions of Peace to the world’s different countries; the last of which was sent to Nigeria few weeks ago.”
Replying a question on the cooperation between al-Azhar al-Sharif and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria as to combating terrorism, al-Tayyeb said, “Our cooperation up till now is on the academic level, but we have actually taken measures to make use of al-Azhar graduates in the different countries, to make them take part in activating the role of al-Azhar in Da‘wah in their native countries.”
Concerning the evaluation of al-Azhar envoys to different countries, his eminence said, “We regularly receive reports on their performance from the Egyptian ambassadors to these countries.” “They exert big efforts to spread the middle course of Islam and we are determined to more efficiently activate these efforts in the soon future,” al-Tayyeb pointed out.
At the end of the conference, his eminence the Grand Imam of al-Azhar stressed that the message of al-Azhar al-Sharif is itself the message of peace with which Islam came, calling African peoples to unite their goals and efforts in such a way that achieves the ambitions and hopes of the peoples of this continent which is rich with its fortunes and people.  


Categories: Speeches