More than 170 Muslim leaders, including scholars, theologians, & historians, attending the first International Islamic Conference (IIC), have concluded their 4 days of discussion by issuing a final statement denouncing any delcaration of "apostasy" against a Muslim by other Muslims & narrowly defining the circumstances under which a religious edict may be issued. The conferfence, hosted by the Jordanian government & held in the Jordanian capital of Amman, included Muslim scholars & leaders from more than 40 countries.
The conference was an attempt to unify the 8 schools of Islamic thought on high ranking issues with a goal of reducing violence attributed to Islam.
The conference was called "True Islam & Its Role in Modern Society." The final statement issued regulations necessary to interpreting Islam & issuing religious edicts or "fatwas."
In a statement representing the IIC, Abdel Salam Al Abbadi, spokesman, said that the most important statement to come out of the conference is that all Muslims are united in their schools of jurisprudence. The statement also denounced declaring any Muslim an apostate.
Attributing what he called the emergence of extremist thinking amongst Muslims to ignorance, oppression, & injustice they have suffered, Abbadi denounced rash religious fatwas by unqualified clerics.
Abbadi concluded that the differences among the attendees were minor & were handled "in a spirit of scientific, reasonable, & moderate dialog." He emphasized that differences were on minor issues of interpretation, "not the fundamentals on which all schools agree."
Regarding declarations of apostasy, which are often used as grounds to physically harm or even kill errant Muslims, or confiscate their property, the conference statement declared that any Muslim who belongs to one of the eight schools of thought in Sunni & Shiite Islam, as well as "true Sufism," is to be considered a Muslim & cannot be declared an apostate.
Whether the views of the conference participants prevail in previously violence-oriented factions of Islam remains to be seen. Farouk Jarrar is the spokesman of Aal al-Bayt Foundation of Islamic Thought, an international, non-governmental charitable foundation based in Jordan but comprising a membership of 70-100 of the world's top Islamic scholars and clerics from almost every Islamic country and major community in the world. It was financed and created by the Jordanian government under the edict of King Abdullah II and supervised by Prince Hamzah. Jarrar noted concerning the conference participants, "some of these people in there have their television shows & their websites, & they are highly influential. If they say that killing civilians is against Islam & must stop, it will stop" [or at least decline].
The Lord's Servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will give them a change of heart leading to a knowledge of the truth
II Timothy 2:24-26