The 22nd International Conference on Islamic Unity was held in London with the participation of Shia and Sunni scholars and scholars at the Islamic Center of England.
According to the Public Relations of the Islamic Centre of England, the conference was held on Sunday, 1st November 2020, to discuss ways to expand the deep ties between Shia and Sunni scholars.
According to the report, the 22nd International Conference on Islamic Unity in London has started with the recitation of 5 verses from the holy Quran, and continued with a special message from the supreme Shiite authority, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, stressing the need to create a common roadmap for promoting the solidarity of the Islamic Ummah to overcome the threats imposed by the world’s arrogance and corrupt powers. Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi also prayed and wished success to those involved in holding the Conference on Islamic Unity in London organized by the Islamic Centre of England.
In this conference, Hojjatolislam Wal Muslimeen Seyed Hashem Moosavi, representative of the Supreme Leader and Head of the Islamic Centre of England, said: “Today, due to widespread attacks by enemies of Islam on the great personalities of the Islamic religion and the integrity of its followers, efforts to preserve and sustain the unity of the Islamic Ummah is a necessity and an obligation of Muslims.
The head of the Islamic Centre of England reiterated that the Islamic world today suffers from many problems, one of which is that it is accused of terrorism, while it is the biggest victim of terrorism.
HIWM Seyed Moosavi pointed to the weak role played by the rulers of Islamic countries in establishing fraternal and strong relations between Muslims. He added that in these circumstances, resolving this problem is the obligation of Muslim scholars to work to create unity and concord in the Islamic Ummah.
The representative of the Supreme Leader in Britain highlighted the numerous common beliefs and practices between two groups in the Islamic world and called the highlighting of differences, a foreign conspiracy. He called on all Muslims, especially Islamic scholars, to focus on the common beliefs and values in their research and scholarly writings.
He also emphasized that special seminaries and schools should be established to teach the beliefs of all the schools of thought to students and by learning each other’s beliefs and practices we can minimize the differences.
Hojjatolislam Wal Muslimeen Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi was one of the speakers, Sayyid Rizvi is a prominent Shiite researcher from Toronto-Canada. He has lectured on the concept of unity and how it can be achieved. This religious scholar made two important points: Firstly, all existing schools, despite the diversity in jurisprudential and theological opinions, should accept each other as Muslim and should not resort to Takfirism. Secondly, we should cooperate to solve common challenges that we are facing in the world, especially in the West, and added that a quick and effective solution would be to identify the roots of problems such as the educational system and the role of debate and dialogue in the space.
Sheikh Mohammed Omar, the president of the Ramadan Foundation, overseeing the Central Association of Sunni Muslims, the Uk’s largest representative body of Sunni organizations, expressed concern at the many challenges Muslims face today, particularly in France and sectarianism in Pakistan. This Sunni scholar said that the solution to the problem of meetings and discussions is holding such a conference, which has been held under the auspices of the Islamic Centre of England. Sheikh Omar called weak and narrow-minded thinking a constant problem for the Muslim world and said that Muslim scholars should have a positive opinion of each other to pave the way for resolving the disputes.
Dr. Mohammad Khalid, another Sunni thinker from, thanked the head of the Islamic Centre of England for holding the conference and said that the Qur’an is the Centre of unity because every Muslim Shia and Sunni believe in the Qur’an as God’s Final authentic book.
Dr. Khalid said that unity is obligatory for every Muslim like other religious obligations, including prayer, fasting, and zakat.
The Sunni scholar said that mutual dialogue, the avoidance of radicalism, having a positive view among Islamic scholars, and an increase in religious literacy some of the ways to schools of thought cab draw closer together. He said that the first advantage of dialogue to achieve concord in the Islamic Ummah is to eliminate misunderstanding, increase mutual understanding of beliefs and focus on sharing in both schools.
Dr. Hamid Shahriari, Secretary-General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought pointed out important points for concord in the Islamic Ummah, reiterating that avoiding disunity and aggression in the Islamic world, cooperation among Muslims against our common enemies, establishing friendly relations, expanding opportunities, gaining knowledge and political power, cooperation and self-development are some of the requirements for achieving concord in the Islamic Ummah and the creation of a new Islamic community with lofty principles.
The Secretary-General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, also mentioned the necessity of coming together as one nation, avoiding war and aggression, accepting Ijtihad and solving issues through academic dialogue, avoiding conflict, and relying on the Common beliefs and practices of Islam.
The conference paid tribute to Late Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri for his great efforts in the way of promoting Unity amongst the Muslim Ummah.
At the beginning of the conference, Hojjatolislam Wal Muslimeen Syed Abbas Abedi, the Deputy for Cultural Affairs of the Islamic Centre of England, welcomed all the participants and presented a report from last year’s Islamic Ummah Conference. He further said: “At a time when many individuals and groups are trying to exploit artificial divisions between the two prominent schools of thought, our role as Muslims is to be vigilant and strengthen unity and brotherhood.
At the International Conference on Islamic Unity in London, interesting video clips were played about the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, the unity of the Islamic world, and the Importance of Unity.
The conference was broadcasted live on Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook as well as on Ahlebait TV.
The International Conference on Islamic Unity was held in the Islamic Centre of England’s Main Hall with protocols such as social distancing and mask-wearing observed.