The Centre for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC) at George
Mason University, Washington D.C. along with Institute for Middle East Studies at
the Marmara University, Istanbul organized and hosted the international 3-day conference
in Istanbul, Turkey. The conference started on 30 November 2011 and concluded on
2 December 2011.
The conference aimed at creating a space for dialogue for a peaceful future in
Afghanistan. There are many Afghan scholars, Imams who are trying to build peace
and justice based on their own religious foundations, but they are currently unsupported
and feel religious confusion about jihad, terrorism and suicide bombings due to
the conflicts and wars spread over a decade.
This project was designed by Afghan Muslim peace builders and scholars in cooperation
with a variety of local and international partners and contributors. For the first
time, more than 120 Afghan Imams and civil society leaders engaged directly with
leading Muslim scholars such as Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, General
Secretary of the OIC Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, President of Al-Azhar University,
Dr Usamah al-Abd, Mufti of Bosnia Shaykh Dr Mustafa Ceric, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
and various other scholars.
Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, with his inspiring teachings and
guidance, enlightened the Afghan audience and underscored the contribution of Afghanistan
for Islamic values and classical knowledge which is their glory and should reconnect
themselves to their lost glory. Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri highlighted various
personalities whose origin is from Afghanistan such as Mawlana Rumi, etc.
In his keynote speech Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri explained how the Afghans
can acquire control of their country by rejecting radicalism and clarifying their
minds that terrorism and suicide bombings has no link with Islam under any circumstances.
He clarified that suicide bombings is forbidden i.e. haraam and will never be accepted
in the name of Islam. He further pointed out that Afghans need to unite against
the radicals and Taliban who are in fact responsible for the NATO occupation in
the first place. He explained how they can bring peace and stability in Afghanistan
by dialogue, reconciliation and by clarifying the concept of jihad. The Imams and
civil society leaders all have to play their role to clarify the minds of Afghans
who are confused about the issues of jihad & suicide bombings. They were requested
to take benefit of the Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings.
During the Q&A session, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri addressed various questions relating
to theological and political aspects and clarified that they should not mix the
political issues with religion. They do not have the right to misuse Islam for political
agendas or for their wrongly perceived jihad.
The Afghan leaders felt highly impressed by Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri's
speech and Q&A session. Many Afghan leaders requested to meet Dr Qadri separately
in order to ask some more specific questions about the situation in Afghanistan.
The unplanned session was held in which leading Afghan Imams and scholars asked
various questions about jihad, suicide bombings and how they can get rid of the
current situation. Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri comprehensively addressed all
their questions and clarified their minds about jihad and status of suicide bombings
in Islam, to their complete satisfaction. They highly appreciated Shaykh-ul-Islam.
He gave them a future strategy to fight radicalism and to enter political system
in a democratic manner to take control of their land.
Shaykh Dr Usamah, president of Al-Azhar University also eloquently spoke on how
to rebuild Afghanistan and the use of religious texts. He appreciated Shaykh-ul-Islam
for his clarifications and agreed with his viewpoint. Dr Ghulam Qamar, a Minhaj-ul-Quran
University graduate who is teaching at Al-Azhar also spoke at the conference.
Dr Raheeq Abbasi, Sheikh Zahid Fayyaz, Shahid Mursaleen and Faisal Mirza also
attended the conference.