"--IANS/WAM"
Abu Dhabi, July 20 (IANS/WAM) In a new initiative to promote peace in Muslim societies, a first of its kind independent international body called the 'Muslim Council of Elders' haas been established, it was announced here.

The move follows the recommendations of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, held in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in March this year.

The announcement was made Saturday on the eve of a meeting of a group of scholars and thinkers from the Islamic world headed by Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque, and scholar Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, chairman of the forum.

According to the statement, members of the council are expected to redouble their efforts to reunite the Islamic world and tackle extremist ideologies that are contrary to human values, and tolerant principles of Islam.

They will work collectively to develop a roadmap with the aim to extinguish the fires that sweep across the region, and address the evils of sectarianism and violence plaguing the Muslim world over the decades.

Establishment of the council as the first institutional entity was a result of the recommendations of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, and a joint initiative of the Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb and Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah.

The founders of the council stressed on the need to comply with the provisions of Islamic teachings that call for peace, planting the concept of peace, and establishing the method of peace in fiqh (jurisprudence), values, concepts, rules and culture, making the path of peace contentedly a choice for the youths of the Islamic nation.

The Muslim nation's scholars and wise men must take their full responsibilities in this dangerous historic juncture which our nation is going through now and save their nation in this miserable battle between its people by deep thinking and careful planning with patience and perseverance, making extra effort to spread peace to achieve it, and implanting it in our Islamic world through our moderate Islamic method that harmonises understanding of the text and the jurisprudence of reality away from fueling people by false images, Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb said.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah said the state of fragmentation and strife in the Islamic nation does not allow one to be a partner in international decision-making, pointing out that the opportunities of development exist when peace exists, but what wars offer is only death and destruction.

Stressing on the importance of the separation between Islamic discourse and Islam, he explained that the Islamic discourse is not Islam, it is the understanding of Islam.

He appealed to all parties to renounce hate speech and sectarianism which recently has taken an extremist nature that increased the state of division and fragmentation in the nation.

--IANS/WAM

ab/vt


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