JEDDAH (Rahnuma) : The International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan has called for an end to the violence in the country, saying fighting between Muslims was strictly prohibited in Islam.
Under the patronage of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, senior ulema, or Islamic scholars, from Saudi Arabia and the Muslim world said it was important the crisis in the country has “a supporting religious reference.”
Also present at the conference, which began on Tuesday, were the Saudi minister of Islamic affairs, Sheikh Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh; Imam of the Grand Mosque, Sheikh Saleh bin Humaid; and senior ulema member and member of the Ifta permanent committee and adviser at the Saudi royal court, Abdullah Al-Mutlaq.
Speaking to Arab News, the special envoy to the Afghani president, Mohammed Akram Khpalwak, said: “The gathering of these Muslim scholars is of great importance to us as they agreed that fighting is among Muslims is strictly prohibited in Islam.”
Thanking King Salman and the crown prince, Khpalwak said that such meetings could offer a way out of the Afghani predicament, “the thing that all Afghani people are looking for.”
A spokesman for the Afghan Ulema Council, Mohammad Qasim Halimi, said the conference was backed by prominent Islamic scholars from different parts of the Muslim world.
“Islamic scholars have a word to say and all Muslims will consider and obey them — and I hope their call will find acceptance from the Taliban, especially after both parties of the Afghani conflict listened to the Friday sermons delivered by the imams of the two holy mosques a few weeks ago,” Halimi told Arab News.
He said that that about 40,000 people have died in the Afghanistan conflict since 2001.
“The reason behind such atrocities is the ideology of terrorists who accept nothing but their views and opinions.
They are, in fact, using religion to reach their political or economic goals. Otherwise, they are just infiltrators for external hands,” he said.
Executive adviser to the Afghani president Painda Mohammad Hikmat said: “We expect that the Muslims scholars will come up with a fatwa that forbids the war in Afghanistan.
“They are many plots against Afghanistan for political, economic and even ideological interests,” he said.
The deputy education minister and member of the executive board of the Ulema Council, Shafiq Samim, said the war had forced more than 1,000 schools out of the 18,000 countrywide to close.
“These schools are in the areas where Taliban and Daesh militias are found,” he told Arab News.
“We hope the declaration of this conference will help convince the Taliban to share a dialogue table with the government,” Samim said.
In his opening speech, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen called on the Afghan government and “all components of Afghan society” to respond to work toward peace in the country.
“Our conference today is a reflection of the gravity of the strife and division in Afghanistan that have denied Afghan people the grace of security and stability, hindered development, frustrated society and killed hope,” he said.
“Worse still, killing the innocent in the name of Islam has aggravated the situation.” He said that this conference comes at a critical time in Afghanistan’s history. “Great store is set by this event to meet the aspirations and hopes of the people who have been torn apart by the fighting and want to see their country return to security, stability and prosperity,” he said.
“Afghanistan has long been on our agenda at the OIC. The organization has always come out in full support of this country, engaging in countless initiatives and actions, both regional and international.
“It is a matter of huge responsibility for you to live up to what the people of Afghanistan expect. We are confident this conference will be of great benefit not only to Afghanistan but also to the broader Muslim world.
The entire Muslim community is looking forward to you correcting the misguided and distorted interpretations of the Islamic teachings, and stand in the way of evildoers mortgaging Islam, stirring up destruction and acting wrongly in the name of Islam,” he said.
On Monday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the brief truce had raised the prospects for peace in Afghanistan.