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Friday, November 13, 2015

‘Extremists exploit Islam for political gains’

Efforts must be made to counter groups using religion as a foil for politics says academic professor
Several groups that claim to act in the name of Islam are in fact un-Islamic and are only using religion as a means to legitimise their activities, a visiting academic scholar said in the capital on Wednesday.
During a lecture organised by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, Dr Mohammad Saadi, an associate professor at the University of Mohammad the First, Morocco, spoke on the dynamics of politics and religion.
“Islam needs to be liberated and purified from groups that are using the religion for political gains. These groups foster a very narrow-minded totalitarian ideology and share no resemblance to Islam,” he said.
Dr Saadi explained that much of the violence currently being witnessed in the Arab world is a result of extremist groups trying to fuse their ideology within the realms of politics.
“The problematic relationship between religion and politics is at the heart of current conflicts tied to the intellectual and political decision-making in the Arab and Muslim world,” he said.
“The slogans that have been advocated by groups that are trying to use Islam for their political goals has led to the prevalence of terrorism and violence,” he added.
Combating such groups requires a strong intellectual response according to Dr Saadi. “The ideological aspects behind extremist groups cannot be ignored and must be met head on. The battle is an intellectual one, unless we achieve an intellectual response there will not be a political solution,” he warned.
“Now more than ever, we need to enter an Islamic enlightened period, to lighten the heart of the Muslim world and to free it from the grip of extremists,” he added.

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