Publish Date: Saturday,12 September, 2009, at 12:42 PM Doha Time
By Riham el-Houshi
The newly-established Al-Qaradawi Centre for Islamic Moderation and Renewal will conduct research on moderate thinking, spread the ideas surrounding it and fight extremist streams of thought, said the centre’s director Dr Hasan Khalifa.
The centre, established by HH Sheikha Mozah Nasser al-Misnad, chairperson of Qatar Foundation, opened recently with the release of two books written by Qatar-based Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi: Jurisprudence of Jihad and Characteristics of Moderation.
The centre has already embarked on its first two projects which involve creating a bibliographical guide of all that has been written about moderation in Arab and Western literature and a library comprising Qaradawi’s works and articles about him.
“In the past few years exaggeration of religious texts and straying away from religion have become serious problems,” said Khalifa, who is originally a professor of Comparative Religion at Cairo University and a visiting professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, Qatar Foundation.
“Presenting Islam in its correct form will help fight waves of extremism,” he said. “It also includes research on other religions’ texts,” said Khalifa, who was nominated to direct the centre in April 2009.
Khalifa said the centre would direct its works at politicians and economists to help them promote moderation in their respective areas.
“Economic systems in the world are either capitalist or socialist,” he said. “Either they ignore the individual or ignore the society. There must be moderation in that sense too.”
The centre, which still has not been formally opened, will be publishing and translating books about moderation so as to reach out to Western readers, and will be holding international conferences and seminars. It will train preachers and imams “because they have more close contact with the masses and can spread moderation to them”.
Khalifa explained extremism was not restricted to a particular section of society and “its root lies in the sources of information, which confuses people. The correct sources are those derived from the Holy Qur’an and Sunna”.
He said: “Returning to original sources of Islam, by default, means returning to moderation, because that is what Islam means.”
“One should be proud of one’s religion but also accept other religions, there is no society with one religion, and no religion without sects,” he said. “We must ensure that they are brought together to a middle ground, and that middle ground can be found through Islam.”
Khalifa said that the centre was named after Qaradawi because he is a “pioneer of moderation in modern Islamic history and an establisher of moderate thought that condemns terrorism and intolerance”.
He said Qaradawi had always been calling for acceptance of others, “whether they are Muslims or not”.
However, Qaradawi was denied entry into the United Kingdom in 2008 to seek medical treatment.
The scholar’s latest book, published by the centre, explains that there are two types of jihad, one that is self-defence ordained on every Muslim who is a victim of an offensive attack. The second type is jihad against oneself, fighting the sins posed by circumstances.
“There is a huge difference between jihad and terrorism,” added Khalifa.