Bahrain Conf. on How to Defend Prophet Kicks Off

Some 300 Muslim scholars open a two-day conference in Bahrain Wednesday, March 22, in support of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) following the row over his depiction in cartoons in European papers.

Bahrain Conf. on How to Defend Prophet Kicks Off

The scholars, preachers, heads of Islamic associations as well as Arab and Muslim community leaders from Europe will explore a strategy aimed at preventing a repeat of the crisis sparked by the publication of the cartoons first by a Danish newspaper, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"Our goal is to agree on plans and mechanisms to defend the Prophet through the thought-out reactions of Muslims," conference spokesman Sheikh Nasser Al-Fadala said.

The Manama gathering is to open Wednesday evening with an address by its chairman Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, whose International Union of Muslim Scholars is one of the conference's organizers.

Other organizers include "Islam Today" of Saudi Sheikh Salman Al-Odah.

The speech will be followed by a debate on "the roots of Western views of Islam" and the "greatness and sacred status of the Prophet."

The participants include popular London-based Egyptian television preacher Amr Khaled and British preacher Yusuf Islam.

Six imams from Denmark, where the controversy originated, will attend the conference led by Ahmad Abou Laban and Ahmad Akkari.

Twelve cartoons, including one showing the Prophet with a bomb-shaped turban, were first published by Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in September and reprinted by European newspapers on claims of freedom of expression.

The meeting comes the day after Britain's Prince Charles criticized the cartoons furor and appealed to religious leaders to foster common values in a speech at Cairo's Al-Azhar university, the oldest seat of Sunni learning.

Avoiding Violence

Qaradawi is head of the conference.

Sheikh Adel Al-Muawda, one of the organizers, said that the Manama conference is meant to educate Muslims about ways of securing their rights while avoiding negative practices such as the violent cartoon protests.

"The scholars attending the conference will underline that Sharia`ah (Islamic law) bans such practices," he said.

The 12 drawings provoked violent protests across the Muslim world where they were condemned as blasphemous. The caricatures also triggered a boycott of Danish products in Muslim countries, costing the Danish economy hundreds of millions of dollars.

Leading Muslim scholars denounced attacks on foreign embassies in Muslim countries but urged other ways to show anger such as an economic boycott of countries which published the cartoons.

"We believe that the incident was because of ignorance about the Prophet," Soliman Al-Buthi, another conference spokesman, told Reuters.

"An economic boycott is one of the ways to combat the ignorance and protest about what has happened, but we need to educate the West about who the Prophet was and to have an open dialogue with the West," Buthi said.

The participants have set ambitious goals such as "regulating relations between Islam and the West" and "unifying the Muslims' positions on religious issues."

Deliberations will go on until Thursday evening, when participants will announce a series of "recommendations" for an international campaign to defend Islam and its Prophet.

The conferees will further focus on how to remove Western stereotypes on Islam and the Prophet through media and the Internet.

Al-Balagh Cultural Society, which owns, has launched a fund-raising campaign for its new affiliate Web site on Prophet Muhammad, which was launched Tuesday, March 21, in response to Danish cartoons that lampooned the prophet of Islam.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16