Muslims who resort to violence thinking they were doing their religion a favour are totally ignorant about Islam, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque Prof Dr Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi said yesterday.He also said that differences in religious practices should not prevent Muslims from working with non-Muslims, citing Malaysia as an example of a country where Muslims and non-Muslims worked and lived in harmony.Saying Islam stood for peace, Tantawi added that Muslims who promoted or perpetuated violence needed to be re-educated."Islam is innocent of them and their acts.
However, if Muslim properties, religion and countries have been attacked, they should defend themselves," he said at a public talk entitled "Muslim Unity in the 21st Century: Challenges and Prospects" at the International Islamic University Malaysia.Tantawi said knowledge in various fields could unite the ummah (Muslim community), serve humanity and assist countries in their development. "One of the ways to strengthen the ummah is to increase the number of ulama and educated people because they are more likely to understand Islam," he said.
Tantawi said it was important for Muslims to specialise, and at the same time co-operate with others from different fields of knowledge and expertise. Such co-operation was one way to make the ummah stronger, he added.He added that co-operation should be extended to non-Muslims as well. "The difference in beliefs shouldn’t stop us from helping each other. For example, we must learn from the West and they also have to learn from us so that a dialogue of civilisations can take place," he said. He cited Malaysia as a good example of co-operation between Muslims and non-Muslims that has helped improve the welfare of all citizens.Tantawi said using knowledge for destruction was prohibited in Islam. - Source: New Straits Times
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