Ata-Ur-Rahman Saleem, the deputy head of the High Council for National Reconciliation who participated at the religious scholars’ joint conference in Mecca last week, said the summit was attended by a Pakistani cleric who oversees thousands of madrassas in that country where most Taliban leaders and commanders have studied.
He said the delegates at the summit declared Afghanistan’s war illegitimate, adding that the conference came about after a two-year effort by Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and other countries. He said he hopes the decision by the participants will positively influence the Taliban’s willingness to stop violence.
Saleem said that the most influential and biggest religious scholars from Pakistan, including Mawlawi Abdul Malik, Mawlawi Jan Andari, Mufti Taqi Osmani who is the deputy head of Pakistan’s Dar-ul-Olum, Mawlana Naeemi, Mawlana Qaderi, each of whom lead thousands of madrassas in Pakistan, called Afghanistan’s war haram--forbidden--and stressed the need for efforts toward peace in Afghanistan.
“Mawlana Jalal Andari spoke at the conference. He is the head of Pakistan’s madrassas. He leads over 3,000 of the best madrassas in Pakistan,” Saleem said.
Hosted by Saudi Arabia, the event brought together senior scholars from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Arab News quoted the organizers of the conference as saying that the summit was conceived in order to utilize the MWL’s role in resolving conflicts within the Islamic world, with the support of Saudi Arabia. They said the work of the conference “will reflect the MWL’s sense of historic responsibility as a representative of all Muslims, and its desire to achieve unity, solidarity and harmony, the security of its societies, and the safety of its citizens.”
The opening session featured Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary general of the MWL, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, the Pakistani minister of religious affairs and interfaith harmony, and Mohammad Qasim Halimi, the Afghan minister of hajj and religious affairs.
They were joined by senior clerics from both countries.
Also in attendance was Lt. Gen. Bilal Akbar, the ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Javed Mujadidi, the ambassador of Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia, Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and Shafiq Samim, Afghanistan’s permanent representative to the OIC.
“We tried in the past as well. We went there two years ago, and the clerics who talked yesterday were not ready to meet us in front of the media due to some reservations they had,” Saleem added.
He said that clear mechanisms are required to continue talks among religious scholars from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Afghanistan and Pakistani religious scholars attended the meeting. This is a good step and they declared the war forbidden,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, former vice president.
An MP from Daikundi, Ali Akbar Jamshidi, meanwhile, said Pakistan’s government and army could also play a role in the success of such conferences.
“If Muslim world scholars issue a fatwa against the war and declare it forbidden, I am sure this will have a good impact on stopping the war and stopping recruitment,” he said.