04/17/2009, 00.00
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Islamic world discusses religious tolerance under Sharia

At the end of the month, 200 scholars from 60 countries will discuss topics related to the development of the modern world in the light of Muslim law, like freedom of expression, abuse within the family, the protection of the environment, and finance.

Mecca (AsiaNews) - Religious tolerance under Sharia and freedom of expression will be two of the central themes of the 19th meeting of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), which will see the presence of experts and scholars of Islamic law from about 60 countries, and will be held at the end of April in Mecca.

At the discussion, in addition to the 200 scholars, there will be many written contributions from various parts of the world, including countries in which Muslims are not the majority, but a significant minority.

At the meeting of the IIFA, which is a branch of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the scholars will also be joined by Islamic affairs ministers from various countries. In its coverage of the news, the Saudi newspaper Arab News  reports a statement from the secretary general of the IIFA, Abdul Salam Al-Ebady, who says that, together with the topics of religious tolerance and freedom of expression, there will be discussions of "wide-ranging topics, such as Islamic finance, banking, domestic abuse, health and medicine and environmental protection." He stresses that this is an international event that sees the participation of the largest number of scholars, for the purpose of confronting the problems of the modern world in the light of Islamic law.

Some topics, like diabetes and fasting, are exclusive to the Muslim world, but others, like domestic abuse, or like religious tolerance and freedom of expression, do not involve only people of different religious convictions, but have also been and are causes of criticism and dispute toward Islamic countries on the part of international organizations and human rights groups, in addition to non-Muslim countries.

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