maandag 27 april 2015

Mufti Shaikh Dr. Shawqi Allam in Utrecht, 21 April 2015; mutual statements of takfir!

Dr. Shawqi Allam is Great Mufti of Al-Azhar and/or of Egypt. It is an official position in the Egyptian Islamic Republic, although he is elected for this functionby some kind of a senate of Al-Azhar University. He is in a position to check death penalties in Egypt. He was in the Netherlands for a goodwill trip, to promote Islam as a religion of peace, not of extremism and violence. He had an encounter with members of parliament, with the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmad Aboutalib (born in Morocco, but since early youth in the Netherlands, respected member of the Labour Party and already in his second term as mayor of the second town of the country and the big harbour).
Dr. Sawqi Allam also gave a public lecture at Utrecht University. I was thionking of putting him the question what he should do with the death sentence for the leader of the Ikhwan al-Muslimin, but had no opportunity to ask him that question. He held his speech on "Islam and the challenge of religious extremism". According to Qur'an 2:143 the Muslims are ummatun wasatan, a people of the middle, justly balanced. Out of the 6000 verses of the Qur'an only 300 have a legal character. Out of the 60,000 prophetic traditions only some 2,00 are related to legal matters, while the rest is a general call to good moral character.
It was a funny place where he held his talk: the Maskeradezaal with the masks used at the procession for the anniversary of the university in the early decades of the 20th century.
Islam, is a flexible religion and adapted to the great civilizations of' Persians, Indians, Chinese and Greeks'.  Of course, I missed here the Indonesians.
Amr Riyad held a nice speech for him in fluent Arabic, as well as Christian Lange (below during the exhcange of gifsts).
One of the 'most common and influential manifestations of this ideological extremism is the phenomenon of infidelization (takfir)..' But these people are not true Muslims. At this instance I was thinking that 'Islam' is not a good concept to be used in academic discourse, because it is not clear what should be understood with Islam in practice. Extremists have their own definition while other reject that their Islam is real or true Islam. Muhammad Arkoun already stated more than 20 years ago that Islam should not be used in academic debate. Wilfred Cantwell Smith even some 50 years ago made statements that words like Buddhism, Islam, Christianity have ne clear meaning and should not be used further.

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