12/24/2015, 00.00
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Muftis of Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan in united front against extremism and terrorism

by Fady Noun
On the eve of celebrating the birth of the Prophet the three Sunni Muslim leaders sign a joint statement "for a clear religious information". The ceremony was held at the Dar el-Fatwa in Beirut. In five points, the declaration rejects confessional fundamentalism and reaffirms the freedom of worship and coexistence.

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:

  1. Renewed commitment to the development of a moderate and reforming religious discourse including (...) the propagation of the values ​​of tolerance and moderation, the strengthening of peace in the society, the re-establishment of trust between generations, support for traditions of communal living (...).
  2. Renewed commitment to the development of a clear religious information that includes (...) the values ​​of acceptance of others at a religious, national or global level, as well as the peaceful resolution of differences in a space of equal and mutual trust.
  3. Cooperation between the departments empowered to issue religious decrees (fatwa) in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, at the level of exchange of information and experiences, mutual visits, to combat religious extremism and all other extremists who threaten the security of Arab societies, their unity and their stability.
  4.  Cooperation between Muslim and Christian religious in the setting up of an observatory of coexistence, which will be based in Beirut (...).
  5. The exhortation addressed to the Arab media, private and public, to responsibly report religious information, leaving aside anything that may exacerbate religious sensitivities in a context of discrimination and misinformation. It should also be noted that the first and second points of the declaration deal respectively with sermons in mosques as well as current and widespread religious information in the media.


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 ".

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