Religion is a fundamental factor in the identity of the Muslim individual and the formation of their thought and culture. It is clear that there is a strong connection between religious and social issues in Islamic and Arab societies. This connection is evident in the influential presence of religion in the life of the Muslim individual, and it contributes to strengthening the bonds between the individual and their Sharia.
With the increasing number of Muslim minorities, especially with the expansion of Muslim immigrants in non-Muslim countries, there have been challenges facing these individuals and their communities in adapting to the different cultures and values in the new societies.
Islam is a religion of peace, mercy, and tolerance, but unfortunately there are some groups and sects that try to distort the image of Islam and spread sedition and extremism between Muslims and non-Muslims. These groups exploit Muslim minorities in some countries that suffer from injustice, oppression, and discrimination, and incite them to violence, hatred, and separation. This leads to the reinforcement of the negative image of Islam in the world, and increases the state of isolation and closure among Muslim minorities.
Therefore, there is an urgent need for initiatives and projects that aim to spread moderation and moderation in Islamic thought, clarify some concepts, and present bright models of coexistence and integration between Muslims and non-Muslims in diverse societies.
This is where the need arose to establish the "Forum for Research, Studies, and Fatwas for Muslim Minorities", which represents a umbrella that brings together scholars and muftis interested in the issues of Muslim minorities. This forum, as stated in the press releases issued by the General Secretariat of the Fatwa Institutions and Bodies in the World, which includes most of the Fatwa institutions in the world, headed by the Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa, aims to find a methodology for fatwas and legal rulings that entail the issues of minorities, taking into account the important changes related to time and place.
Dr. Ibrahim Najm, Secretary-General of the General Secretariat of the Fatwa Institutions and Bodies in the World, recently announced in official press statements that the World Fatwa Conference will launch several great fatwa projects and initiatives, including the announcement of this forum on the sidelines of the activities of the Eighth World Fatwa Conference under the generous patronage of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi under the title "Fatwa and the Challenges of the Third Millennium", which will be held on October 18 and 19, 2023, in Cairo, with the participation of scholars, muftis, ministers, and international figures from more than 90 countries.
There is no doubt that the message of the forum is a noble one, as it seeks to create a moderate entity that represents a safe intellectual refuge for Muslim minorities, protects them from extremism and deviant fatwas, and works to export a positive and realistic vision of Islam.
We all hope and trust that the forum aims to:
- Eliminate the chaos of extremist fatwas by developing an enlightened and moderate fatwa methodology that meets the needs of Muslim minorities.
- Improve the image of Islamic law by spreading a positive and true image of Islamic law and its values.
- Counter false ideas by responding to the suspicions raised about the law and correcting the misunderstanding of it.
- Build bridges between cultures by promoting communication and cooperation between members of the forum and exchanging experiences between them.
- Supervise fatwa applications and other successful intellectual and fatwa initiatives and projects.
An initiative like this deserves all the appreciation and support, as it highlights the role of Islam in building bridges of understanding and cooperation between peoples, confirms that Islam is a religion that respects diversity and does not impose itself on others, develops the spirit of citizenship and belonging among Muslim minorities, and increases their confidence in themselves and their religion. We hope that the forum will achieve its desired goals, and that it will be a source of inspiration and guidance for Muslim minorities everywhere.
Best wishes for the success of the Fatwa Conference; this important and wonderful conference in its topic, and all greetings and appreciation to all researchers and scholars at the Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa, and all thanks and gratitude to the leadership of the General Secretariat; His Eminence Dr. Shawki Ibrahim Aalam, Grand Mufti of the Republic and Chairman of the General Secretariat of the Fatwa Institutions and Bodies in the World - and His Eminence Dr. Ibrahim Najm, Media Adviser to the Grand Mufti and Secretary-General of the Fatwa Institutions and Bodies in the World and Chairman of the Salaam Center.