Muslim Cleric Urges Education Reform to Counter Religious Extremism


Talking of ways to counter religious extremism, the top cleric of Al-Azhar, the most revered seat of learning for Sunni Muslims, recently spoke of education reform across Islamic countries, saying there is an undoubted link between religious extremism and incorrect interpretations of the Quran.

Speaking at an anti-terrorism conference in Mecca in Saudi Arabia, grand imam Ahmed al Tayeb said religious extremism is the product of a poor understanding of the teachings of Prophet Mohammed.

“There has been a historical accumulation of excessive trends that have led some people to embrace a misguided form of Islam,” he told the gathering. “The only hope for the Muslim nation to recover unity is to tackle in our schools and universities this tendency to accuse Muslims of being unbelievers.”

Tayeb made these comments only days after expressing outrage over Islamic State’s burning to death of a Jordanian pilot who was part of the American-led airstrikes against jihadists in Syria. On February 4, after the terror organization released a video showing the burning of Maaz al Kassasbeh inside a cage, Tayeb had said the jihadists deserve to be killed or crucified.

On February 22, while speaking in Mecca, which is considered to be the world’s most holiest city by Muslims, Tayeb did not mention Islamic State but he condemned all terrorist groups that have opted to act savagely and barbarically. He went on to blame unrest in the region upon a conspiracy theory that he refers to as “the new global colonialism allied to the world of Zionism.”

The first day of the conference also saw King Salman of Saudi Arabia deliver a speech about efficient strategies that would help counter terrorism.

“Terrorism is a scourge which is the product of extremist ideology,” said the monarch’s speech, which was read out by the governor of Mecca. “It is a threat to our Muslim nation and to the entire world.”

The three-day conference, organized by Muslim World League, was attended by senior clerics from across the Muslim world, who feel an urgent need to discuss strategies in which religious extremism can be combated in the region as well as other parts of the world.

Photo Credits: World Bulletin

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