Muslim scholars from 25 African countries are meeting in Tanzania's semiautonomous island of Zanzibar to discuss social and development issues, such as gender violence and HIV/AIDS, from an Islamic perspective, Reuters news agency reported.
The five-day conference is organized by the Network of African Islamic Organization on Population and Development, which was launched last year in Abuja, Nigeria, during a meeting of Muslim groups from several African countries, according to the network's deputy secretary, Issa Ziddy.
Senegalese Sheikh Hassan Cisse founded the network, with the support of the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, after finding that Muslim leaders can play a crucial role in promoting human rights and combating HIV/AIDS and gender violence through Islamic teachings, Ziddy said.
"We are being supported by the United Nations Population Fund, which works to ensure universal access to reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health for all. But we are discussing these problems in reference to the teachings of Islam," he said.
"We need more Islamic organizations in Africa to join the network, despite the problem of [not] having a common language in our meetings," Ziddy added.
"Islam is for all times"
Opening the conference on Tuesday, Zanzibar's constitutional and good governance minister, Ramadhani Abdallah Shaaban, said that the network's establishment was timely, demanding the participants to come up with fresh ideas to combat gender-based violence, and improve awareness on social issues, such as family planning and safe motherhood; access to sexual and reproductive healthcare.
"This is what Almighty Allah has ordered us," Shaaban said.
Stressing that "Islam is for all times", he said that Muslim states should boost development efforts, especially in the fields of population, health and environment.
"Whether we like it or not we have to change by applying the teaching of Islam in the context of a world that is radically different" from when Islam began, Shaaban said.
Quoting from the Holy Qur'an, the minister said several issues like human rights, democracy and education must be addressed from an Islamic perspective.
Shaaban stressed that African governments, which are signatories to the International Conference on Population and Development, must put peoples' interests first and promote human dignity and equal opportunity for all, "especially those who are marginalized and excluded".
He also said that African Muslims must adopt family planning to deal with a population explosion that's threatening development in the continent and the Islamic world.
One of the key factors hampering Africa's development is the technological gap between developing countries and the industrialized world, Shabaan said, urging Muslims all over the world to unite in order to gain a greater and fairer share of global prosperity.
"Good governance is vital for development and the implementation of an accountable, transparent, just, fair and democratic system, which responds to the people's need," Shaaban stressed.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16