Saudi Arabia calls for updating religious narrative to combat Islamist terrorism

Published By ITCT News Desk On : January 9, 2019
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Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: The need to use modernized religious rhetoric to combat extremism was addressed during a seminar at the 33rd Janadriyah cultural festival in Saudi Arabia.

Aide to the royal court Sheikh Saad al-Shathri stressed during the event that terrorism and terror groups abuse and manipulate religious texts to serve their malicious purposes. Moreover, terrorists take advantage of susceptible people, such as those suffering from an identity crisis or psychological problems, in order to advance their agendas.

Youths are most vulnerable to extremist groups, he warned.

He therefore, explained that rhetoric addressed to the youth must be in line with the modern times, while still retaining core values.

Analyzing terror cases starts by studying terrorist leaders by resorting to religious scholars, said Shathri.

He stressed that terrorists should not be given any room to develop and expand their agendas.

Imam of the Great Mosque of Makkah Dr. Abdulrahman al-Sudais stated that updating religious rhetoric should take place when the current one leans towards extremism.

He acknowledged that religious rhetoric changes as times changes. Modernizing the rhetoric should make Islamic Sharia accessible throughout the world, by focusing on ethics and moderation.

The rhetoric should be based on fixed texts and learned scholars. They must emphasize tolerance and accommodating for the current age and different societies, said Sudais.

ITCT Executive Director Noor Dahri while talking to ITCT Newsdesk said, “I completely agree with Imam Dr. Abdulrahman al-Sudais on the need to update religious narrative to counter Islamist extremism and terrorism. It is the duty of us Muslims to take a leading role in changing the narrative because we must always remember that the rhetoric of extremists is very attractive and has misguided an entire generation of our youth. Now it may be time to try to change that and take the lead in countering the narrative of extremists and terrorists. We at ITCT aim to counter and defuse the rhetoric of extremists by using Islamic texts from the Quran and Hadith. One of the main issues that Muslim youth in the West is facing is identity crisis. We must counter this identity crisis by bringing our Muslim youth into the mainstream and making them confident enough about the Western system. We need to help them realise that the Western democratic system is much closer to the system proposed by Islam than any system in the Muslim majority countries today, therefore our Muslim youth should be loyal to their country and have full confidence in our system. For this purpose, we are going to need the help and support of moderate and reformist Islamic scholars. If Islamic scholars do their job properly and if organisations like ITCT are there working with our Muslim youth on the ground, we will be able to save our Western Muslim youth from radicalisation.”

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