Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

'Some countries changing the definition of Islam to suit their politics'

Delegates at the "Future of Moderate Arab Islamic Culture, which is being hosted by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, are exploring the roots of Middle East culture and its impact on religion.

ABU DHABI // A period of political upheaval in the Arab world has had repercussions for Islam and the ways it is practised and defined by society, experts say.

Delegates at the two-day "Future of Moderate Arab Islamic Culture" conference, which began yesterday in the capital, are hoping to discuss and record these changes.

"Future generations can only be saved through constant Islamic preaching and educational streams, which some Arab countries seem to be changing to suit their political thoughts," said Dr Jamal Al Suwaidi, the director general of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, in his opening speech.

He said Islam was inherently moderate but that this had been hijacked by ideological extremists, pursuing vested interests.

"The Arab world faces several challenges pertaining to their civilisation and identity, and the only way to save it is to hold the Islamic path and follow it," he said. "We need to establish an exemplary Islam based on peaceful living for all, respect for others and shunning bigotry and hatred."

The faithful have been largely divided between "westernised" secularism and more traditional Islamist thinking, according to Dr Hassan Hanafi, a professor and dean of philosophy at Cairo University. The professor said both camps had their own truths but that both were missing the bigger picture.

"Islam is a religion that offers benefits to all of mankind; it guarantees security of religion and family, peace of mind, and security of life and property," he said.

"The challenge the Arab world now faces is in establishing new meanings of Islam. The truth will combine all - it does not divide."

Dr Tayyeb Tizni, a researcher and academic from Syria, said extremism had been responsible for many deaths in his home country.

"The idea of a moderate attitude is absent there," he said, "although this is a basic of Islam."

Dr Hanafi said: "Islam does not teach us to take the side of the oppressor and the tyrannical, it teaches us to take the side of the poor and avoid supporting those who have stolen the riches of the nation."


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 This comparison image shown on Reddit annotated the objects with vehicles from the movies.

What Star Wars fans say is going on in Abu Dhabi’s desert

We may still not know exactly what The National caught pictures of in the Abu Dhabi desert last week, but the online community has had plenty to say. Here are some of the best bits.

 Courtesy Al Ittihad

Time frame: It’s all going swimmingly

Built on what was originally a public park, Ain Al Faida - the flowing source - became one of the country’s first resort hotels when it opened in the mid 1970s.

 The iconic Kingdom Tower project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Above ground work is set to begin on the tower which is expected to be taller than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. Rendering courtesy EC Harris/Mace

Saudi’s Kingdom Tower set to go skywards as it aims for world’s tallest building tag

Above ground construction work due to start next week in Jeddah, after months of testing and preparation work.

 Jia Ruhan sings as a guest artist during a concert by the pianist Robert Wells concert in 2012. The Chinese soprano is being groomed by the government to become an international pop star as a way of increasing its global influence through ‘soft power’.

In pictures: Meet China’s Jia Ruhan, no ordinary pop star

Jia Ruhan is being groomed by Chinese authorities to become a global pop star as a way of expand its cultural influence worldwide.

 Screen shot from Vin Deisel's facebook page of he and Michelle Rodriguez in Abu Dhabi for the filming of Fast & Furious 7. April 2014

Fast & Furious in Abu Dhabi, a social media frenzy

Fast & Furious 7 wraps up an eventful and much-anticipated week of filming in the capital. Let's take a look at what went on via the key players' social media, while they were enjoying the delights of the desert.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National