"Islamic doctrine against radicalism": International Theological Conference in Moscow ends with a declaration condemning radicalism
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Photo by Vefader Melikov

Makhachkala, May 28, 2012
by Vefader Melikov 

On May 26 in Moscow, the hotel "Ritz-Carlton" hosted the first in the Russian history International Theological Conference "Islamic doctrine against radicalism". Following the two-day work the Conference participant - the leading Muslim scholars of the Islamic world and the spiritual leaders of Russian Muslims adopted Moscow Theological Declaration of Muslim scholars on jihad, the application of Sharia and the caliphate.

This theological document combines the contents of several fatwas - the theological conclusions that condemn radicalism, extremism and violence under religious slogans. By the unanimous decision the final level of theological opinion was raised from the level of a single fatwa, considering private legal affairs of Muslims, to the level of Moscow Theological Declaration which unites the theological decisions on several key legal issues. This fact puts it in a number of such historical documents as Mecca Declaration, Amman Declaration, Cairo Declaration and several others.

The event attracted several hundred people - the largest international Islamic scholars from 23 countries of the Muslim world, Islamists and the recognized experts. The conference was attended by the leading Islamic scholars of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, Bahrain, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Mauritania, Sudan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, Albania, Switzerland, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and the Russian Muftis, representing the vast majority of the country.

Very significant was the participation in the event of such luminaries of Islamic theology worldwide, as the Secretary General of the International Union of Muslim scholars, Dr. Ali Al-Karadag and the deputy Chairman of the International Union of Muslim scholars, Dr. Abdullah bin Baya.

Congratulations on behalf of Russian Muslims to the foreign guests on the first day were made by the head of central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia – the Chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia, Mufti Ravil Gaydutdin, the Chairman of the Coordination Centre of North Caucasus Muslims, Mufti Ismail Berdiyev, the Chairman of the Russian Association of Islamic consent of Muhammad Rahim, the deputy Chairman of the Central Spiritual Board of Muslims of Russia Albir Krganov.

As a result, the event participants announced the adoption of the theological conclusion condemning extremism and radicalism in the complex of symptoms, as well as condemning the use of self-serving political purposes of such terms as "jihad" (diligence in the way of Islam), "takfir" (the accusation of unbelief and leaving Islam) and the "Caliphate" (historical and theological concept of Islamic state).

According to experts it is the misinterpretation of these terms that leads to the radicalization of many Muslims around the world and the mistaken understanding that pushes many Muslims to armed struggle to establish a totalitarian political order under the religious banners. This factor is now at the heart of many conflicts in various parts of the Muslim world - from Russia's Northern Caucasus to Afghanistan and Somalia.

The State Duma deputy, the head of the Commission under the Head of the Republic of Dagestan to adapt to civilian life of those who stopped terrorist and extremist activities Rizvan Kurbanov, the head of the Ministry for National Policy, Religious Affairs and External Relations RD Bekmurza Bekmurzaev, the chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Chechnya Sultan Mirzaev reported on the Russian experience of anti-radicalism work and the struggle against anti-armed extremist groups hiding behind religious slogans.

In two days of hard work, the conference members worked out scheduled theological conclusions explaining unauthorized violence of Muslims against members of other faiths and ideologies, as well as their co-religionists, ill-radical interpretations of Islamic law provisions related to the issues of war and peace, unauthorized encroachment on the human rights and freedoms, ill violation of laws of the country of residence, the announcement of armed struggle against government bodies, etc.

Moscow Theological Declaration will become extremely important for Muslims both in Russia and abroad because it is based on the Islamic legal principle of "ijma", that is taken with the unanimous consent of the majority of Islamic scholars.