DOHA — More than 200 Muslim scholars and intellectuals from 44 countries will attend a conference on Islamic sects and schools of thoughts which will begin at the Doha Sheraton on Saturday.
The three-day conference is being hosted by the College of Shariah and Islamic Studies at the Qatar University, in co-operation with the Al Azhar University and the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, Aisha Al Mannai, the Dean of QU’s College of Shariah, said the conference seeks to promote dialogue between vaious Islamic sects and schools of thought, especially in the context of the Sunni–Shi’ite conflicts in Iraq.
“The idea is not to change beliefs but to open a dialogue between various sects and schools of thought among Muslims, because all of them agree on the basic tenets of Islam,” said Al Mannai.
The conference will open on January 20 at 10am with remarks by Dr Mahmoud H Zagzoug, the Minister of Endowment and Religious Affairs of Egypt.
Sheikh Ahmed Al Khalili, Mufti of Oman; Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al Taskhiri, Secretary General of The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Thought, Iran; Dr Akmeleddin Ihsanoghlu, Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Conference and Dr Yousuf Al Qaradawi of Qatar, will be present.
The delegates include prominent Islamic scholars from Sudan, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iran, France, Tunisia, among other countries.
The eight sessions of the conference will discuss the following issues: the importance of dialogue for the unity of the Umma, the relationship between Islamic schools of thought in Islamic heritage – obstacles and challenges, the phenomenon of exclusivism and its dangerous impact on inter-faith dialogue.
The participants will also discuss means of proximity – hopes and aspirations, and the dialogue between Islamic schools of thought and minorities.