Beirut (AsiaNews) - On the eve of the feast of Maouled (celebrating the birth of the Prophet and observed this year on December 23), the muftis of the Sunni community in Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, Sheiks Abdellatif Deriane, Chawki Allam and Abdel Karim Kassawina signed a joint declaration.
It is entitled the "Beirut Declaration for a clear religious information" and sets out the blue print for establishing, in Beirut, an Arab Observatory of coexistence, in collaboration with the Christian religious authorities. The signing ceremony was held in Dar el-Fatwa [the highest Sunni institution in Lebanon], in the Lebanese capital.
The declaration includes the following five points:
The idea behind the Dar el-Fatwa initiative of is to take - or regain - control of mosques in the country and the sermons that are being given in them, particularly during the Friday prayer, and to eliminate everything that undermines coexistence. A slogan and model which underpins the very essence of Lebanon.
The signing of a "Joint Declaration" is part of an internal consultation within the Sunni Arab world, in an attempt to block the advance of extremist Salafi matrix. A few days ago the Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Abdel Latif Deriane, met with the Imam of Al-Azhar and other Sunni religious authorities in Egypt, in order to better coordinate action in this sensitive area.
"We must form a common front against extremism - said the Sunni leader, in the context of the inauguration of a new mosque in Tyr in southern Lebanon - and eradicate malignant tumors including incitement, exclusion and anathemas" .
The Mufti took part in the event as a messenger of a moderate Islam and respectful of religious pluralism. "I did not come to Tyr to visit only the Sunnis – he said during the ceremony of welcome reserved for him - but to pay tribute to all the inhabitants of this city, regardless of the community they belong to. [I'm here] to greet all who live a culture of respect for religious plurality, a culture of living together that is based on solid foundations, while respecting freedom and love".
He also added that "all Muslims are brothers, regardless of differences in the interpretation of the Koran" between Sunnis and Shiites. "These differences - he said - do honor to the freedom of believers”.
However, concluded the Islamic leader, this way of seeing and thinking "is facing serious challenges, in the name of Islam itself, forcing us to raise our voices to denounce these abuses that are damaging to Islam (...). The plurality of interpretations does not forbid us to pray together, under one roof, as we do during the pilgrimage to Mecca (...). We must form a common front against extremism, and eradicate the malignancies that are incitement to exclusion and anathemas, the use of terrorism which contradicts our principles and our values, as well as our belief in terms of faith ".