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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 28 May 2018

Islam ‘facing distortion’ by ignorant minority

An adviser to the UAE president spoke at the Baku International Humanitarian Forum about how Islam is being distorted by a minority group that uses violence in the name of religion.

BAKU // Islam is being distorted by a minority who use “violence, murder and the destruction of communities” in the name of religion, said an adviser to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE.

“Today, this great religion is facing distortion by a few of the followers who are ignorant. They reject the opinions of the others, whom they sometimes make infidel, even if of the same religion,” said Alsayed Ali Bin Alsayed Abdul Rahman Al Hashim at the Baku International Humanitarian Forum.

Sheikh Al Hashim comments came as the UAE takes part in the US-led coalition that is fighting the Islamist militant group ISIL, which has taken over large areas of Syria and Iraq. ISIL commited atrocities as it moved from city to city, including beheadings, abductions and slavery.

Religious scholars across the Muslim world have the denounced the group as being against Islam.

“For more than 14 centuries, the message of Islam has been, and remains, based on belief in the unity of human origin, and on the principles of justice, compassion, tolerance and the promotion of human rights,” Sheikh Al Hashim said.

He said the Baku forum “presents us with the opportunity to promote the culture of tolerance and co-existence, of intellectual integrity and moderation, and to remove the sentiment of the existence of a bloody conflict between different religions, cultures and beliefs”.

The two-day forum was opened by Ilham Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan, who said he was “alarmed” by trends elsewhere in the world, especially the European trend towards declaring “multiculturalism” a failure.

“There is no good alternative to multiculturalism. The only alternatives are racism, Islamophobia, discrimination and anti-semitism,” Mr Aliyev said.

fkane@thenational.ae