Islamic Scholars Speak Against Extremism, For Modernisation

CAIRO — Grand muftis, Islamic religious leaders, from 73 countries on Thursday concluded here a three-day conference aimed at moderating how religious figures discuss Islam so as to counter the effects of extremism and increase the involvement of Muslim youth in peaceful displays of their faith.

During the fourth edition of the conference, held in Cairo and focused on the issuance of “fatwa” – religious guidelines promulgated by religious leaders, participants discussed a broad spectrum of topics, including organ transplants, divorce and stem cells.

“Our main concern in this summit is to redefine fatwa and reclaim fatwa from the radicals,” Ibrahim Negm, adviser to Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawki Allam told Efe.

Touching on topics ranging from divorce and marriage practices to inheritance and scientific activities, a fatwa is released publically as a way for Muslims to live an involved and connected spiritual life in the modern world.

“Our purpose is to revisit the Muslim tradition and … the heritage (writen in) books hundreds of years ago. We want to read them afresh in the light of contemporary issues. We are living in the 21st century, we are living in a global village and this has impacted how fatwas are issued,” Negm added.

The conference also discussed women’s rights and the use of the “niqab,” the long Muslim women’s gown and veil which completely covers the body and face.

“We emphasize the essence rather than the form … the way people dress is different from one Muslim country to another, so you have in the Gulf a certain way of dressing while in Egypt the way Muslims dress is different … (The same is the case) in Turkey. Meanwhile, in Europe Muslim (men and women dress in a different way), this is based on customs and traditions of Muslim community,” Negm stressed.

Negm announced that religious leaders will “launch an online portal that reaches young people and speaks to them in different languages”.

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