Tuesday, February 18, 2020

During his speech at the forum of “Freedom of Religion and Belief”

During his speech at the forum of “Freedom of Religion and Belief” at the Italian Cultural Center, the  Secretary-General of Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy (AIRA), “Islam guarantees the freedom of belief and approves one’s right to perform the rituals of his religion, setting rulings that guarantee safeguarding such freedom.”

   The AIRA Secretary-General, Prof. Naẓīr ‛Ayyād, participated in the activities of the forum, organized by the Italian Cultural Center in Cairo, entitled, “Freedom of Worship, Religion and Belief”, under the slogan “Promoting partnership among states, international community, and religious institutions.”

   The workshop covered debating the role that freedom of religion and belief plays in promoting equality in societies with religious pluralism. The workshop discussed freedom of religion and belief in Islam and Christianity, and the role that freedom of religion and belief plays in preventing incitement to violence and brutal crimes. It also handled freedom of religion and belief in contemporary international and national legislations, as reflected in international laws.

    In his speech, the AIRA Secretary-General said that this meeting is one of the important meetings as it affirms a required important human value, namely the freedom of worship, religion and belief. As the world is prevailed by many forms of injustice and conflicts, there are those who try to associate these problems with religions and religious officials.

      ‛Ayyād added that freedom of belief in Islam began with the Divine revelation to the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) as the Holy Qur’ān indicates the variety of people, meant for them to compete in goodness, rather than fight each other. Islam also guarantees freedom of belief and approves one’s right to perform the rites of his religion and set rulings that guarantee for him to safeguard such freedom, and protect it from any aggression. Islam's approach is based on argument and persuasion with evidence; and in fact what is rumored now is contradictory to the truth.

    ‛Ayyād explained that Islam has set principles for freedom of belief upon which it is based, considering human dignity as a basis for dealing. He noted that the Holy Qur’ān addresses man, showing that the reality that we live confirms our need for human dignity. In addition, admitting variety and diversity as a universal rule are acceptable in Islam, as the Islamic Sharῑ’ā approves the legitimacy of difference and diversity, regarding justice as the basis for the relationships among all people, Muslims or non-Muslims, friends or enemies.

    He also pointed out that among these principles  justice is emphasized. In terms of religious freedom, Islam emphasizes the principle of justice and fairness with the different others. Islamic history is an obvious witness of many facts that confirm the relationship between Islam and followers of other religions as being based on freedom of belief and worship. Islam has also set general restrictions on freedom, including balancing rights and duties. Just as we are free to claim rights, one of the restrictions of freedom is also commitment to duties because they are the rights of others. Another restriction is commitment in personal freedom to not exceeding the limits of justice and fairness. One must also observe the general community regulations.

     The AIRA Secretary-General further pointed out that the issue of freedom of worship is badly exploited by many of those with special interests or agendas. Some would take advantage of individual cases to obscure the tolerance of religions, not acquitting them from the responsibility of the actions of some of those who claim to belong to them.

     ‛Ayyād also reviewed some of the efforts exerted by Al-Azhar under the leadership of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof. Ahmed Aṭ-Ṭayyeb, in promoting peace, tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the recent time. The most important of such efforts is the Human Fraternity Document signed by the Grand Imam and the Pope of Vatican.

Categories: AIRA News