Muslim scholar decries violence: 'I am a Nazarene, too'

Wael Farouq, professor of Arabic language at the American University of Cairo, Egypt at the Rimini Meeting Aug 27, 2014. Credit: Joaquín Peiró Pérez/CNA.

Referring to the label “Nazarene” marked on houses of Christians in Iraq by the militant Islamic State, a Muslim scholar also called himself Nazarene in solidarity – maintaining that many people in the Muslim community are identifying with Christians as well.

“Millions of Muslims have used the Arab letter 'nun,' or 'n,' which stands for Nazarene, as their profile picture in Facebook and Twitter, thus identifying themselves with the testimony Christians have given in Iraq,” Wael Farouq told CNA Aug. 25.

A professor of Arabic language at the American University of Cairo, Egypt, Farouq was among the 200 speakers scheduled the Annual Meeting of the ecclesiastical movement Communion and Liberation, which takes place in the Italian town of Rimini Aug. 24-29.

A major events with over 100 conferences, 17 shows, 14 exhibitions and 10 sporting events, this year's meeting holds the theme: “Towards the peripheries of world and existence.”

Addressing the Christian plight in Iraq, Farouq stressed that “terrorists and criminal are not the main characters of Iraqi scenario,” since the real “heroes are those who have chosen to stay faithful to their faith and to abandon everything they have to keep their faith.”

A declaration issued by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Aug. 11 asked religious leaders – Muslims in particular – to take a strong stand against acts that offend God as well as humanity, and to nurture a culture of peace.

Farouq dismissed claims that “the Muslim world is silent about what is happening in Iraq. Many religious leaders have condemned what is happening.”

For example, “the Grand Mufti of Egypt and even orthodox mufti like the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia,” said, adding that “what is happening is the enemy number one for Islam.”

The ISNA – Islamic Society of North America – and the Center for American-Islamic Relations have also strongly condemned the actions of the militant Islamic State.

“Beyond political and religious leaders, what is more important to me is the reaction of ordinary people,” Farouq reflected.

According to him, “it is happening for the first time that interreligious dialogue start from a form of identification with the other,” as happening today while “ordinary people, millions of Muslims are identifying with Christians.”

Despite this, Farouq explains that “terrorists are not, however, isolated,” since in several countries there are “terroristic groups that use religion to justify their violence,” and this does not happen by chance.

“As a Muslim, and also as a Muslim scholar I must say that the Islamic thought, the Islamic practice today needs a deep reform to the conception of every Muslim that violence is against the principles of our religion. A reform for the Islamic world is needed,” Farouq maintained.

On the other hand, he says that terrorists gain the sympathies of some because of the extreme secularism and double standard of the Western world.

“Even the Western world is responsible of what is happening in Iraq,” Farouq underscored.

“These terrorist groups are receiving every day three million dollars from Western companies who buy oil in the black market. They are armed by Western companies,” he said.

According to Farouq, this is not something “related to Islam or the Middle East. It should be a problem for all of us, for all the world. Everybody is part of the problem for what is going in Iraq.”


Voices

Easter and beyond

Anne Hansen

We move quickly from our major religious holidays each year. It’s not intentional. Life hurries along and as soon as the sun sets on one holiday the next is being touted by merchants looking to sell us whatever the next big day brings. To remain in the spirit of the religious holiday — in this case Easter — takes deliberate intention.

Opportunities with Sisters of St. Joseph

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April 25, 2015

  • Saturday, April 25

    Super Groovy 5K Run/Walk, 8 a.m., Woodley Park, 6350 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys. Sponsored by St. Euphrasia School, this year’s “Super Groovy” theme celebrates the school’s 50th anniversary of its founding in 1964 and serves as a tribute to that nostalgic era of peace and love — the 60’s. At the finish line, all runners and walkers will be puffed with clouds of psychodelic color. Registration $25-$40. For more information, contact Susie Sempelsz, (818) 488-1598. info@knights5k.org.

    5th Annual Car Show, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Junipero Serra High School, 14830 S Van Ness Ave., Gardena. Featuring classics, hot rods, and muscle cars as well as food, music, vendors and raffles. (310) 324-6675. la-serrahs.org.

    Challenge Weekend for Men, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and April 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Povorello Retreat House, 1519 Woodworth St., San Fernando. Presented by St. John Eudes and Our Lady of Grace Men’s Fellowships. Men will not board overnight; lunch is provided both days. $90 or donation. Register at knowingweekend.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Fred Perez, (818) 749-5126.

    First Annual Sacred Heart High School Gala, 5 p.m., Los Angeles City College New Student Activities Center, 855 N Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. Proceeds from the event, themed “United to Empower,” will benefit the Comet Scholarship Fund.



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