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Peaceful Afghan Muftis risk lives to oppose misuse of their religion
Dr. Marc Gopin, director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, reveals Muslim clerics in Afghanistan who risked their lives to meet and publicly oppose the violence misappropriated by their religion.
In December, 2011, the Center convened a meeting of twenty famous Islamic scholars and dignitaries together with 120 clerics from every province of Afghanistan, reportedly the first time such an event has taken place.
"Never before had anyone brought together the beleaguered Imams of the Afghan provinces, men who had stood up for peace and risked their lives to fight against the misuse of their religion," writes Gopin.
"These men stood witness as colleagues, who dared stand up at Friday prayer and advocate for Islam’s commitment to nonviolence, for women’s rights, and for tolerance, were assassinated by radical forces in the region and neighboring states whose only purpose was to keep the war going and Afghanistan divided. Nevertheless, these men have remained committed to their work and unwavering in their dedication to create a better future for their country."
Gopin, a practitioner of conflict resolution, argues that religious values are not at the periphery, but at the centre of political events.
"Three clerics were on crutches, having recently survived bomb attacks, but insisting nonetheless on attending our meeting... traditional Afghan men and women, each through their own networks and institutions, are fighting a valiant nonviolent battle for the soul of their society and for a more peaceful future."