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August 27, 2015 12:47 pm

Egypt Urges Renewed Religious Dialogue in Letter Written in Many Languages — Including Hebrew

avatar by David Daoud

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A mosque in Egypt. Photo: Wikipedia.

A mosque in Egypt. Photo: Wikipedia.

Egyptian Minister of Religious Endowments Mohammad Mukhtar Jumaa issued a letter in Hebrew and 13 other languages calling for the renewal of religious dialogue, Saudi-owned pan-Arab news service Al Arabiya reported on Thursday.

The letter — in Arabic, English, French, Russian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Urdu, Swahili, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Farsi and Hebrew — was titled: “The culture of reflection and declaring intellectuals as apostates.”

In it, Jumaa said that those who profusely declare others to be apostates (takfir) lack both proper knowledge in Islamic law and common sense. Nor do they realize the multifaceted nature of faith, he said, when their version of Islamic renewal involves one part faith and 99 parts extremism.

He compared scholars working on the spread of Islamic renewal, while holding on to the basic tenets of tradition, with others who consider renewal, or even the very thought of it, to be heretical.

He said the selective approach to religion leads to its ossification and a readiness to declare other interpretations as apostasy, blasphemy, treason or outside the  bounds of Islam. He claimed that this approach creates Muslims with no knowledge or skill in jurisprudence, who are not specialists in Islamic law, but are nevertheless quick to accuse others of violating that law.

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