Category: Mali

Fighting Fundamentalism

Imams and Muslim preachers from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Algeria took part in the meeting; together, they signed a declaration in which Salafist fundamentalism is described as “a destructive thought that has spread through the Sahel over the past years, sullying the image of Islam and the Muslims.” This opposition, therefore, has a religious motive: the rejection of tolerance or support in contrast with the teachings of the Koran. Hence, imams in the Sahel urge all Muslims to “speak out against violence, extremism and fanaticism” and to spread “a culture of peace and peaceful coexistence with other communities.”It is in order to fulfill these aims that participants at the meeting chose to create a proper league, electing Abdou Daoud Bourima, a Nigerien imam, as president and Algerian General Youcef Mechria as secretary general. Of course, the bodies they are targeting are groups such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa which strike against Christians and foreigners, in the name of “the fight against the Western invaders.”  “Only religion,” Imam Bourima said, is capable of unmasking these fanatics.”  

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