ABU DHABI, 18th December, 2016 (WAM) — The events of the Third Annual Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies were launched today in the presence of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah, President of the Forum.

The two-day forum is being held under that patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Participating in the two-day forum at the Jumeirah Hotel at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi are more than 400 intellectuals, scholars, thinkers, researchers, youths and opinion-makers.

This year’s forum explored the best methods to finding peaceful solutions that can rectify the negative and distorted image of Islam in some parts of the world. In addition, the speakers endeavoured to refute extremist ideologies with a culture of peace and tolerance, which has been a driving force of Islam.

Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, was in attendance as well as high officials Sheikh Nayhan bin Mubarak welcomed the attendees and said the UAE had been very keen on helping Muslim communities to build capacities to face all challenges.

“We are a successful country and a model for other nations to emulate. We are proud of the cohesion between the people and the leadership and we are very keen on continuing as a nation of wisdom and peace,” he said.

Sheikh Nahyan said the UAE has been blessed with wise, far sighted leaders, including the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates.

“We in the UAE, are aware that successful leadership is key for building a strong nation,” he added.

Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, framed the discussion for constructive discourse. He first welcomed the congregation of thinkers, scholars and leaders with humble respect. In acknowledging the necessity of their collective knowledge and implementation, he commented, “We need thinkers and leaders to become healers and doctors of modern society by replacing the jurisprudence of hate with the jurisprudence of peace.”

He also acknowledged that Muslims are the first victims of terror attacks that have plagued global civilisation. “We need to set and be examples of the truth and uphold the integrity of Muslims and Islam across the world,” he added. He further noted how illiterate groups and individuals are plaguing religion with literal, ahistorical and contextual methodologies that end up negating the core universal truths of Islam. In closing his speech, glimmered in hope, he thanked and praised UAE for its “example of a peaceful state in such turbulent times.”

The next person to address the forum was Dr Muhammad Matar al-Ka’bi, Secretary General, Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies. He vocalised, “Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. This needs to be recognised in order to take them out of this abyss.” He then stressed the utilisation of Islamic principles such as mercy and justice, to bring peace and stability for all nations. He then highlighted the need for a secure state, remarking “The nation-state is the actual formula for bringing order in this world.”

Sheikh Dr Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, announced, “This forum has been the beacon for Muslim societies.”

Dr Muhammad Mukthar Jumah, Minister of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs, Arab Republic of Egypt, placed emphasis on portraying the true picture of Islam. He explained that individuals and collectives that misunderstand the scriptures are misguided and have distorted the image of Islam.

Dr Muhammad used an apt metaphor to demonstrate how extremists misrepresent Islamic scripture: “They are dying of thirst while carrying their own water.” He concluded that this forum shows Islam is a religion of peace, safety, security, brotherhood and having a good relationship with oneself.

WAM/Esraa/Moran WAM 1209 2016/12/18 END