“Those who were wiped out before you were because of exaggeration” in their religion, Abdul Aziz Ben Abdallah Ali Cheikh said at Monday's opening in Mecca of an international symposium on moderation and the middle ground in the Koran and Sunna
Ali Sheikh, mufti of Saudi Arabia, resorted to a quranic verse to strengthen his point made in front of an audience largely dominated by men dressed in immaculate white.
According to the scholar, who is also head of the High Council of the World Islamic League, moderation and temperance have characterized “the whole life of the Prophet Muhammad, without forgetting that they are conspicuous in all the texts of the Koran and the Sunna (prophetic tradition).
His Egyptian counterpart, Shaoqi Alaam, delivered his speech along similar lines noting that the Arab world today faces “important challenges.
He called for making the right balance to live in harmony on earth, following in the footsteps of the forebears.
According to him, “there is a gap between the path of the Prophet and that of the extremists” who want to impose their “approach” on others at all costs, whereas the right course should be a middle ground.
Extremism is “a danger”
On this point, Mohamed Ben Abdel Karim Al Aissa of the World Islamic League stressed that extremism represents a “danger” in the sense that it “affects people without religious insight, but (who are) just driven by fervour.”
Thus, for him, young people “need to be protected” from the ideas that “are put forward and that stain the image of Islam.”
Contrary to what is said, the religion identifies itself with tolerance and mercy that are always synonymous with it, he added.
“The meaning of the term tolerance must be understood. (...) The legal text requires a precise understanding of the person who interprets it,” Mohamed Ben Abdel Karim said, pointing out that a distinction should be made between "religion and religiosity.”
In interpreting the texts of Islam, Abdallah Ben Beyha, President of the Emirati Council for Strengthening Peace between Communities, stressed that “it is not only necessary to limit ourselves to definitions” but also to “giving each aspect its share.”
He added: “Nothing is more difficult than following Sharia law, i.e. being moderate”.
He also called for a return to “Islamic moderation to deal with this message of hatred” amplified by the media.
In this sense, the Secretary General of the World Islamic League, Youssef Ben Ahmed Al Otheimen, welcomed the fact that “this meeting comes at the right time” before announcing that his organization “has set up a centre to fight extremist speech.”
The Mecca-based World Islamic League, established in May 1962 is an international popular organization whose mission is “to clarify the true image of Islam, provide humanitarian assistance and cooperate with everyone.”