Ulema must engage in struggle against extremists
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai has appealed to the Islamic nations to condemn acts of terrorism and to take decisive and concert action to prevent extremists and terrorists from abusing Islam and tarnishing its image.
"We must prevent our mosques and madrassas from being misused to propagate extremism and hatred. Terrorist groups must not find safe haven, sanctuary, funding or sponsorship in our countries," Karzai said in his speech to participants of the 12th summit of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Cairo, Egypt.
He said religious scholars and ulema across the Muslim world must effectively engage in their common struggle against extremists, who he said undermined the ummah’s progress and stability.
"In this context, my delegation urges ulema across the Islamic world to take example from Sheikh Abdul Aziz, Mufti-i-Azam of Saudi Arabia," he said. The top Saudi cleric has said suicide attacks were prohibited in Islam.
Karzai said addressing the challenges facing the Muslim world not only needed a strong political unison, but also sustained efforts at raising their standard in human capital and economic development.
Karzai said his country had long been a victim of violence. "Over the past decade, we have made great progress to provide safer, healthier and more prosperous lives for the Afghan people. However, terrorism and extremism, emanating from outside our borders, remains the number one concern of the Afghan people, and the biggest challenge for our region," he said.
He said terrorism continued to inflict great sufferings on the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan. "We can best defeat this threat through sincere cooperation. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, we are committed to working with our neighbor to ensure peace and security for our peoples and the region," he added.
As the presence of international forces in Afghanistan is coming to an end next year, Karzai said they were continuously consolidating their state institutions and strengthening security, social, political and economic prospects for the future.
"As part of this effort, we have extended a hand of reconciliation and peace to the Afghan Taliban and other groups that are currently engaged in armed opposition," he said.
The Afghan leader said Afghanistan stood in full solidarity with, and in support of the Palestinian people in their quest for an independent state. "We call for the unity of the Palestinian people, and reiterate our support for all international efforts that would bring the Palestinians closer to achieving their long-cherished aspirations of freedom, independence and peace," said Karzai, who condemned continued development of Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands, believing it could make the achievement of peace more difficult.
He said Afghanistan deplored the dispossession of Rohingya Muslims of their political and legal rights, and their disproportionate suffering from inter-communal violence. "We call upon the government of Myanmar to address their plight, including the restoration of their legal status."