By Hafsa Obeng, GNA
Accra, Dec. 19, GNA – Dr Harun
Zagoon-Sayeed, Executive Director, Baraka Policy Institute has said that
extremism is not part of the teaching of Islam, as per the Holy Quran, Islam is
a moderate religion.
He said Islam promoted moderation in all
aspects of the life of Muslims and Muslims followed the teachings of Allah and
the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) and are moderates as getting to the extreme caused
harm than good.
Dr Zagoon said this at a forum on counter
terrorisms, organised by the Ghana Muslim Mission (GMM), on the theme:
“Preventing Religious Extremism: The role of the Ghanaian Muslim,” in Accra.
Speaking on the concept of Al-Wasatiyyah as
a tool for pre-empting religious extremism among Muslims, Dr Zagoon said
Al-Wasatiyyah came from the Quran and simply meant the middle path or being
He said most scholars defined the concept as
being far away from the two extreme sides, being fair, moderate, and tolerant,
goodness, cooperation, and interreligious appreciation of ethnic diversities.
“If you are a Muslim this virtue teaches you
to be moderate and cooperative, appreciative of others, and sensitive to the
plight of others. You cannot be a Muslim without practising Al-Wasatiyya since
its part of the Islamic values and teachings,” he said.
Dr Zagoon expressed worry about Muslims who
engaged in acts of extremism and associated same to the religion.
“Islam is peace, but there are Muslims who
are committing crimes and mentioning Islamic names and this is what is making
it difficult for us at the moment to sometimes extricate Islam and Muslims from
violence,” he said.
He said people committed attacks on their
own Muslim brothers and sisters and say they were fighting for Islam. “The only
way we can differentiate is to know what Islam stands for.
“Even when the Quran Allah talks about
death, it never mentions that one should kill himself or another in the name of
Islam. The prophet also condemned such acts. So if you engage in that then you
are not practising Islam.
“When Muslims embrace Al -Wasatiyyah and its
teaching, it will help them identify among themselves who are extremist and
deal with them in terms of strategy. It would also enhance peaceful coexistence
among Muslims and non-Muslims and Muslims alike, help appreciate the concept of
mutual respect and to give allowance to others,” Dr Zagoon stated.
He cautioned that the concept did not mean
lowering the standards of Islam set by Allah and could not be lowered.
Dr Bashiru Shani, Senior Lecturer Accra
Technical University, described religious extremism as an unpalatable increase
in some acts of religion and defended as if they were right.
He said Islam likened murder to the termination
of the whole of mankind and therefore could not be associated with extremism.
“As Muslims, we must be concerned about the
act because most times the victims are Muslim, it comes with stigma, it is
unpalatable, and distasteful because it leaves in its wake mayhem, confusion,
disaster and melancholy,” he said.
He mentioned that statistics generated
indicated that in 2016; 52 per cent of all violence associated with extremism
in the Middle East, 34 per cent in South Saharan Africa, both highly populated
by Muslims, and only 12 per cent occurred in Central and South Africa with few
Dr Shani attributed religious extremism to
ignorance, regional and global politics, Palestinian dispute, invasions,
diversity and urged Muslims to allow moderation to take centre stage in all
dialogues and discussions.
He said they were the most affected and
called on Imams to identify the vulnerabilities of their congregation and
tackle them through their sermons.
“The mosque must not only be a centre of
prayer, but a centre to tackle all aspects of the individuals’ life because the
religion is a complete religion. Let us make our mosques an active place of
worship which goes beyond the five daily prayers,” he said.
Nii Okai Aryee, Chairman GMM, Greater Accra
said the forum was to educate members of the Mission and Muslims in general
especially the youth on their roles towards national development and