Scholars Launch Pan-Muslim Body In London
by Ali Al-Halawani, Hany Mohammad, IOL Correspondents
LONDON, July 12 (IslamOnline.net) – The International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS) was launched Sunday, July 11, in the British capital as an independent body and a reference for all Muslims worldwide.
Prominent scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi was named president of the pan-Muslim body with Iranian Ayatollah Mohammad Al-Taskhiri, Mauritanian Abdullah Bin Bieyah and Omani Ahmad Bin Hamad Al-Khalili as his deputies.
"IAMS is a welcome addition to all existing Muslim association all over the world and it does not aim to replace them in any way," read the communiqué of the nascent body’s founding conference.
The Dublin-based Association is "an independent body working on safeguarding the Muslim identity and bridging the gap between the peoples and their rulers in the Islamic countries", it added.
"It also aims to streamlining the positions of eminent scholars on issues of concern to the Muslims worldwide."
"IAMS will open up to other religions and cultures as it firmly believes in the importance of promoting the dialogue with the other," Sheikh Qaradawi told the conference.
It comprises 200 Muslim scholars, Sunnis and Shiites, from the four corners of the world.
Secretary General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Ekmel Eddin Ihsanoglu said the association is basically a non-governmental body.
"It serves as a credible reference for all Muslims, particularly the youth, who are caught between extremism and moderation," newly-elected Ihsanoglu said.
He said the association will also be a platform for eminent renowned scholars, who will put their heads together to benefit their societies and decision makers.
Sheikh Taskhiri said the body will be a crucible for all religious schools and unify the ranks of the Muslim nation.
"I’m sure it will fill the void left over the years," said the Shiite scholar.
Soad Saleh, head of Islamic jurisprudence section in Al-Azhar University, said the International Association of Muslim Scholars has attached great importance to the pivotal role played by women in the Muslim world.
"In inviting women to leave their hallmarks, IAMS revives the key role played by Muslim women all over the centuries," Saleh said.
She said women nowadays have assumed prestigious religious posts across the Muslim world, citing Turkey’s decision to allow women to apply for the deputy Mufti post.
"More and more, thousands of women have graduated from Al-Azhar University with first class honors in different specialties," she added.
Kotb Mostafa, professor of Islamic jurisprudence in the World Islamic University in Malaysia, said the association is one of the unique bodies in the Muslim world.
"It will help settle old scores between various schools as well as infertile differences, which have only weakened the fabric of the Muslim nation," Mostafa said.
IMAS, he added, will also help clear stereotypes about Islam and highlight its true essence.
Kuwait’s Minister of Religious Endowments Abdullah Matuq, one of the founders, hoped that the association would live up to its daunting challenges ahead.
In a document, a copy of which was obtained by IslamOnline.net, Sheikh Qaradawi outlined the main characteristics of the fledgling association as follows:
1- It is a pure Islamic association comprising Muslim scholars from all over the world and representing different schools.
2- It works globally to get its message across the entire world and defend Muslim communities living abroad.
3- It is not a state-run body, but rater gains momentum from the confidence of the Muslim peoples. It is basically independent, but does not antagonize governments and it seeks to enhance bilateral cooperation.
4- It casts a spotlight on the eternal message of Islam using all possible means and state-of-the-art technology.
5- It eschews extremism and bigotry and thinks moderately.
6- And last but not least, it translates its words into action and enlists seasoned and appealing scholars.
As for the association’s objective, it is aimed at:
1- Raising the awareness of Muslims about their religion.
2- Alarming the Muslims to the perils surrounding their religion and identity under the guise of carefully-tailored terms like globalization and modernity.
3- Creating a generation equipped with unshakable belief to carry the Islamic torch.
4- Being a guiding light for all Muslims and finding optimal solutions to their problems.
5- Unifying the ranks of Muslim scholars when dealing with the nation’s major issues.
6- And acting in unison in the face of the nation’s enemies by concentrating on common grounds and thrashing out differences.
Extracted 07/29/04 from Islam Online