"Speech of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in the opening session of the Muslim Council of Elders"

  • | Tuesday, 24 November, 2015
"Speech of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in the opening session of the Muslim Council of Elders"

In the opening speech of the Muslim Council of Elders’ meeting in Cairo, Al-Azhar Grand Imam states:
- Allah, the Almighty, alone is the One Who knows what the humanity’s near future will look like in light of the existence of gangs of death, contractors of evil and blood brokers
- Terrorism is an ideological and psychological disease that is always looking for justifications within unspecific religious texts and the interpretations of the exegetes
- Motives behind terrorism are not restricted to the false and counterfeit interpretations of religions. In most cases, it is the outcome of social, economic and even political doctrines
- Terrorism has neither religion nor idnetity
- It is a clear injustice and blatant bias, to connect the crimes of bombing and destruction happening now to Islam
- It is a matter of fairness and objectivity to distinguish between Islam with its principles, culture and civilization, and those few persons who cannot equal in number 1% of the totality of peaceful Muslims who are open to all people all-over the world.
- Those who burnt Mushafs (copies of the Qur’an) and set fire to Mosques have to realize that these actions are crimes and a form of terrorism by all means. In fact, these actions are the fuel of terrorist thought we are suffering from.
- Drying up the sources of terrorism must be carried out through a complete system that comprises education, culture, the media, and presenting a religious discourse the expresses the true image of Islam.
- Thanks for young scholars of Al-Azhar –males and females – who led and participated in the Global Peace Emissaries delegated by the Muslim Council of Elders to 11 capitals in Europe, America, Africa and Asia.

 

In the Name of Allah, the Most-Merciful, the Most-Compassionate
All praise be to Allah. May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon the Prophet of mercy and the Messenger of peace, Muhammad ibn Abd Allah, his family and companions.
Honorable and dignified Muslim Elders!
May Allah’s Peace and Mercy be upon you,
At the outset of my speech today, let me make a stop for reviewing the disaster of terrorism that afflicted the whole world nowadays and which hit far places and countries which we think to be far away from the hands of terrorism. Black terrorism hit Lebanon; the country of Arabism and co-existence. Last week, it hit the French capital Paris, the city of science and culture, leaving behind more than one hundred victims and other hundreds from the best of the country’s youths injured- most of them are in critical situations. We can imagine how the conditions of so many French families changed in a blink of an eye from enjoying security, peace, stability, love for life and hope for a better future; all of this changed to what looks like life in hell, permanent sadness and deep grief in such a way that makes the families, houses, women and children’s life a misery. In fact, none of those innocent people had committed any crime to be afflicted with such disasters, calamities, death and destruction of houses.
No sooner did we start to recover from the disaster that hit Paris than the disaster of the Republic of Mali occurred; the disaster in which a number of the hostages were killed in Bamako. It is Allah, the Almighty, alone Who knows what the humanity’s near future will look like in light of the existence of gangs of death, contractors of evil and blood brokers.
We actually thought that the afflictions that befell us, we the Arabs and the Muslims, in the East including the impacts of destruction that negatively affected man and stone are the end of the disaster, and that the total annihilation of entire Arab and Muslim countries causing their inhabitants to be homeless and to flee to deserts and seas is all what is destined for us. But, we were surprised when we found it i.e. terrorism hitting the west, the north and the south in the same way it hit the east before. Now, we can say that terrorism is, first and foremost, a conviction and a thought. It may be true to say that terrorism, from the point of view of terrorists, is a philosophy of life for the sake of which death and suicide become something easy; it is not the outcome of any heavenly-revealed religion; rather, it is an ideological and psychological disease that is always looking for justifications within unspecific religious texts and the interpretations of the exegetes. As well, history and contemporary reality tell us that the motives behind terrorism are not restricted to the false and counterfeit interpretations of religions. In most cases, it is the outcome of social, economic and even political doctrines. Thousands, if not millions, of innocent victims passed away as a result of conflicts and wars caused by these material philosophies and doctrines which have nothing to do with religion at all.  
The lesson we all must be aware of especially in light of these difficult circumstances is that terrorism has neither religion nor identity, and that it is a clear injustice and blatant bias, to connect the crimes of bombing and destruction happening now to Islam just because those who commit them cry Allah Akbar “Allah is Greatest” as they commit their atrocities.
As we in Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and the Muslim Council of Elders express our condolences to the families of victims in Europe and Africa and share them pains and grief, we expect all people –in particular thinkers, intellectuals, politicians and people of religions- not to be dissuaded due to these horrors from fairness and objectivity  regarding distinguishing between Islam with its principles, culture and civilization, and those few persons who cannot equal in number 1% of the totality of peaceful Muslims who are open to all people all-over the world. As Muslims, we have suffered such terrorist attacks waged in the name of religions, and we paid blood and lives till this moment I am speaking to you.
It has been ever an unquestionable principle in the minds of Muslims that there is no relation at all between religions and crimes carried out in their names. In addition, those who burnt Mushafs (copies of the Qur’an) and set fire to Mosques have to realize that these actions are crimes and a form of terrorism by all means. In fact, these actions are the fuel of terrorist thought we are suffering. So, you should not reply to terrorism by terrorism, for it is unacceptable from those who claim civility and development to offend publicly the others’ holy affairs.
O Elders!
Time has come to bear this burden that is worsening day by day. It is your fate and ours; our mission has become particularly complicated and multi-dimensional. Our role now is to move toward ending conflicts and eliminating sources of tensions in our Islamic and Arabic world.
The presence of our honorable brother, Abd al-Qadir Sheikh Ali Ibrahim –the Somali Minister of Endowments – may be a good start for our work towards the unity of the Somali people to defuse its unjustifiably prolonged crises. These crises have been paid for by the poor and the ordinary persons from among those honorable people, who deserve and are capable of leading the minaret of civilization, progress and peace in the Horn of Africa.
Second: we have to move towards combating various forms and types of terrorism, and calling on the elite –each one in his field – to dry up the sources of this thought through a complete system that comprises education, culture, the media, and presenting a religious discourse the expresses the true image of Islam.
Third: we have to move towards combating the culture of hate and hostility, and promoting the culture of fraternity, love and global fellowship that have been inspired by the late Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Muhammad Mustafa al-Maraghi in his message to the "Conference of Scholars of Religions," held in London, 1936. In this regard, I would like to express my deep thanks for young scholars of Al-Azhar –males and females – who led and participated in the Global Peace Emissaries delegated by the Muslim Council of Elders to 11 capitals in Europe, America, Africa and Asia.
Today –God willing- the Council will set 16 Global Peace Emissaries to tour the world, promoting peace, correcting misconceptions and carrying one slogan "All peoples are equal in Humanity; everyone has the right to enjoy peace, security and tranquility."
These are religious and moral duties, or even humanitarian duties imposed on the Council by force of circumstance. I consider these duties urgent and cannot be postponed. So we have to go on seeking the help and support of Allah, for it is Allah Whom we seek His help and on Whom we depend.

 

 

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