RELIGIOUS LEADERS ON EXTREMIST IDEOLOGIES
ALGERIA: Cleric speaks out against terrorists
In a newspaper interview with Islamic cleric Nabil Alawadhi he stated that there is nothing that would justify Algerians killing each other.
SOURCE: Echorouk, 22 April 2009
Saudi Imam urges Algerian militants to join policy of peace and reconciliation
Saudi Islamic preacher, Ayid al-Qarni, has called upon the armed groups in Algeria to put down their weapons and join the policy of peace and reconciliation. He said that the violence that has been pervading the country since the 1990s serves only the enemies of Islam.
SOURCE: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 0910 gmt 19 Mar 09
FULL STORY: TV (See Annex 4 for BBC Monitoring transcript. NB copyright restrictions)
SOMALIA: Religious leaders condemn AQ leader’s call to uprising
The Organisation of Somali Religious Scholars have angrily responded to statements by Bin Laden in which he said the Somali president, Shaykh Sharif Shaykh Ahmad, was an enemy of Islam and should be overthrown. Highlighting how out of touch AQ are with the ambitions of ordinary Muslims, the spokesman for Somali Religious Scholars, Shaykh Nur Barud Gurhan, said Bin Laden’s statements were unacceptable and it was not right to encourage Somali’s to follow his views.
SOURCE: Puntlandpost website, 21 March 2009
FULL STORY: Original article not available. See Annex 5 for BBC Monitoring translation.
WORLDWIDE: African Islamic scholars gather in Timbuktu to reject terrorism and its ideology
A group of leading pan African Islamic scholars, primarily from the Sufi tradition, gathered from 28 – 31 March in the ancient city of Timbuktu, Mali, for a summit to take a stand against AQ’s growing influence in the region. Timbuktu has religious symbolism for African Islam and the hope is that the summit’s association with such a symbolic centre of Islamic learning will give it additional weight, alongside the moral authority of those attending, to counter terrorist propaganda. Participants came from as far afield as Algeria, Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia and included Shaykhs from the main African Sufi orders who between them claim to represent over 90 million followers across the world.
The scholars and the conference declaration affirmed their commitment to promoting mainstream Islam, unequivocally rejected terrorism and its ideology, and included the first pan African Islamic statement against kidnapping and hostage taking. The declaration also put emphasis on the role Islamic scholars need to play in combating conflict, illiteracy, corruption and HIV Aids in Africa.
SOURCE: Telegraph, 29 March 2009
YEMEN: Islamic scholars speak out against AQ suicide attacks
Islamic preachers across Yemen have united in strong condemnation of terrorist attacks, following the suicide attack at a historic site in the eastern province of Hadramoutin on 16 March, which killed four Korean tourists and their local guide. They stated that ‘Those who through ignorance believe that the innocent blood of Muslims and foreigners visiting Yemen is something to be trifled with, have committed a great evil’, and ‘God Almighty has made that clear in the Koran when he said “If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him [Koranic verse; Al-Nisa, 4:93]”‘.
The scholars called on all Yemeni citizens to stand as one against the phenomenon of extremism and terrorism, saying that combating terrorism in all its forms is a religious and national duty placed on every citizen, maintaining that these terrorist acts harm Islamic, social, and humanitarian values.
In a separate statement by Shaykh Abu-al-Hasan Mustafa Bin-Isma’il al-Sulaymani he also condemned the attacks saying: ‘These acts prove that there are those who traded there faith for that of someone else, or have relinquished control of their minds to someone who will plunge them into hell.’ Al-Sulaymani quotes the Koran in rejecting the murders committed against the tourists saying: ‘God Almighty says “take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom” [Part of Koranic verse; Al-Isra; 6:151].’
SOURCE: Al-Mu’tamar in Arabic 19 Mar 2009);26 September website, 20 March 2009
MAINSTREAM VOICES AGAINST VIOLENCE
MALI: Local tribes turn against AQChieftains of nomadic Arab and Tuareg tribes in northern Mali and Niger have threatened to launch an open war against AQ if they do not release the six Western hostages currently being held. The tribes joined the fight against AQ after their demands were met at a meeting of their seniors in southern Algeria.
SOURCE: Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai, in Arabic 0417 gmt 4 Mar 09
TV (See Annex 6 for BBC Monitoring transcript. NB copyright restrictions)
SAUDI ARABIA: AQ struggling to recruit ‘fresh blood’
Following the recent disruption of a terror cell, Saudi officials have argued that AQ’s appeal, particularly amongst young Saudis, is seriously declining, leaving the group struggling in its recruitment efforts. It appears that AQ is finding it increasingly difficult to manipulate, delude and recruit new young members to replenish its ageing militant members.
SOURCE: Arab News website, 9 April 2009
INDIA/PAKISTAN: Citizens protest against terrorism
Activists in India and Pakistan joined together in a human chain in a demonstration of shared protest against terrorism, near Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. They also started an awareness campaign to engage citizens from both countries to take a stand against terrorism.
SOURCE: PTI news agency, New Delhi, in English 1756gmt 02 Mar 09
FULL STORY: TV (See Annex 7 for BBC Monitoring transcript. NB copyright restrictions)
WORLDWIDE: Most Muslims reject Bin Laden and AQ
According to an article by Abd-al-Rahman al-Rashid, ordinary Muslims reject Bin Laden and AQ, and do not see such extremists as representative of their views. Highlighting that most victims of terror attacks have been Muslims, not westerners, including in Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, Rahman argues that most Muslims see AQ as their greatest threat, and the biggest successes in halting AQ have come as the result of Muslim societies themselves rejecting AQ.
SOURCE: Al-Sharq al-Awsat, 8 April 2009
WORLDWIDE: AQ’s actions have no religious justification
A panel of experts on the pan Arab satellite news channel programme ‘Death Industry’ has concluded there is no religious justification for acts of violence committed by extremist groups like AQ. Stating that attacks against tourists and historical sites have no link to the concept of jihad, and that Islamic law bans the killing of those promised protection in Islamic countries, the panel concluded that AQ faced a serious juristic problem in justifying their attacks. This had forced them to recruit individuals with little or no knowledge of Islamic law, whom they could manipulate to carry out their work.
SOURCE: Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai, in Arabic 1907 gmt 27 Mar 09
FULL STORY: TV (See Annex 8 for BBC Monitoring transcript. NB copyright restrictions)
OTHER ISLAMIST GROUPS ON AQ
SOMALIA: Somalis reject Bin Laden and AQ
One of Somalia’s hardline Islamist leaders, Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, has told Osama Bin Laden and AQ not to interfere in Somalia’s affairs, and that only Somalis should decide on the future of their country. Aweys statement came in response to Bin Laden’s call for the Somalian president, who he believes is not hard line enough, to be toppled. President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a moderate Islamist, has promised to introduce Shariah law.
SOURCE: BBC News website, 20 March 2009; Time, 20 March 2009; Reuters, 20 March 2009