How to combat extremism, terrorism, by Muslims scholars
Muslim leaders and scholars under the aegis of International Forum for Moderation (IFM) have urged Federal Government to remain focused in the efforts to neutralize the forces of the dreaded group, Boko Haram, thereby enhancing peace and tranquility in all parts of Nigeria.
The call was made last weekend during the international conference on Islam in Africa: Combating Extremism and Terrorism staged by the Jordan-based IFM in collaboration with its Nigeria Chapter as well as other groups such as Islamic Peace Society; Body of Nigerian Islamic Verdicts Authority; Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs among others.
The two-day event held at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos attracted distinguished scholars and personalities around Muslim world including former Sudanese Prime Minister, Imam Saadiq Al-Mahdi who is also the Global President of International Forum for Moderation; the Secretary General of the group was represented by Dr. Zaid Ahmad Al-Muhaesin; President, Islamic Peace Society, Lagos, Sheikh Moshood Ramadan Jibreel; leader of Nigeria chapter of the forum, Dr. Al-Khidru Abdul Baaqee Muhammad; Sheikh Saalih Shareef Al-Husaeniy of Body of Nigerian Islamic Verdicts Authority; Dr. Ahmad Kafi from Morroco; Dr. Abdul Mahmoud Abuu from Sudan; Dr. Fadhi Kloede, Chad; Dr. Sa’eed Sila, Mali; Sheikh Mansour Niasse, Senegal; and Sheikh Awwal Danmala, Benin.
The team from Jodan comprised Sheikh Qareebullah Mohammed Kabara; Dr. Zaed Ahmad Al-Muhaesin; Dr. Zuaadden ‘Ubaeydaat; Dr. Mazin Haashim; Dr. Dhi’ib Abdullah Khitaab among others.
Among paper presenters from Nigeria were Dr. Dhikrullaah Ayofe Shaafi’y; Dr. Siraajudeen Asra’ Bilal; Dr. Muritadhaa Buusaeyri; and Dr. Thaani Umar.
The trio of Dr. Saheed Ahmad Rufa’i, Dr. Haamid Jum’ah and Imaam Abdul Hafeez Adedimeji bridged the language gap by offering English translation of the discourse for the comprehension of the non-Arabic speakers among the audience. The language of communication throughout was Arabic.
Sheikh Moshood Ramadan Jibreel premised the imperativeness of the conference on the need for better understanding of one another especially in a multi-religious setting in order to promote harmony and peaceful co-existence.
He reiterated how Islam upholds the principle of moderation as guide in the discharge of duties – religious and otherwise as well as in the pursuit of all endeavours.
Sheikh Jibreel debunked associating activities of insurgent groups – Boko Haram, ISIS – with Islam as such disposition is nothing but a manifestation of deep ignorance. “As scholars and leaders of Islam, our duty is to continue to enlighten them about what Islam is and what is not.”
He reasoned that the war against insurgency is a collective duty and every segment of the society – the government, the governed, the scholars, clerics, leaders and followers – must play its part well.
Besides the opening ceremony that featured presentation of speeches by various partners, the conference had four plenary sessions addressing sub-themes such as Expansion of Islam in Africa (the past and the present); Origin of Religious Extremism and Terrorism in Africa; Decline of Moderate Methodology: Causes and Effects as well as Futuristic Approach in Combating Religious Extremism and Terrorism.
One of the thinkers of the Forum, Prof. Ahmad Nofal, in his presentation titled: Excessiveness and Extremism in Religion argued, “Excessiveness in religion is considered to be a great danger threatening both the nation and the religion, and leads to total destruction.
“Excessiveness only leads to extremism, where the nation shall pay the cost of such excessiveness which will virtually destroy everything pertaining to that nation, if matters are not rectified.
“Many Muslims who resorted to excessiveness in religion made bloodshed permissible, despite the fact that Islam is void of excessiveness, which is in itself an intellectual and cultural disease. Coercing people to embrace a certain doctrine, is considered to be a sin, as Islam is void of monastic life.”
One form of excessiveness and diversion, Prof Nofal said, “is to transfer the battle with the enemy to one among the squads of Jihad – a battle whose fuel is the civilian unarmed people. This enemy had tenderly and gradually infiltrated into our most delicate sanctuaries, where he tightened his grip and where excessiveness and extremism will eventually moibilise more enemies and recruit armies against us.”
Moderation, according to him, “is not a conglomeration or form of conformity among doctrines. It is not also a selection, or the mean between two extremes or contrasts. It is rather the original thought and the deep nature of Islam.
“If we say that moderation is prosperity, affluence and easiness, with no fanaticism, excessiveness, extremism, bigotry in religion, poor literal understanding and absence of reason and the application of instinct which is, indeed, the true religion, then moderation becomes both the religion and the instinct as well as the good implementation and the good dealing with both.