Peace building in Islam
A seminar on ‘Peace building and Non Violence from Islamic Principles’ organised by Initiatives of Change, The Cordoba Foundation and Islamic Relief Worldwide was held on 22 January in our London centre. The speakers were scholars Dr Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana (Georgetown University), Professor Mohammed Abu Nimer (Salam Institute and American University) and Imam Ajmal Masroor.
References to peace in the Qur’an make it clear that peace in Islam is not limited to a negative understanding of peace that is often defined as the absence of war, oppression or tyranny but it actually refers to a process in which human beings strive to establish foundations for interacting with God’s creation – human and non-human alike—in harmony and to institute just social, economic and political structures where they can fulfil their potential.
Prof Abu-Nimer said scholars have ‘approached this topic from a framework of security, power, politics, strategic studies or classical Islamic studies, not peace and conflict resolution’ and therefore failed to pay sufficient attention to inherent traditions of non-violence and peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Ajmal Masroor presented his own experiences of tackling prejudice and extremism. He spoke about the need first to reconcile within ones heart as the first step towards peace building and non-violence and finding peace with enemies.
The seminar touched on various community conflict resolution mechanisms that have been developed and effectively applied to resolve conflicts in the Muslim world such as wasata (mediation), sulha (reconciliation) and hewar (dialogue).
By Amjad Saleem