Islam & Liberalism Discourse – Kabul & Herat

The first round of a series of discourses on Islam and Liberalism which was organized and held by Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies organization in cooperation with national and international organizations, was initiated simultaneously in Kabul and Herat provinces.

Picture showing the inauguration of Islam and Liberty discourse.

In these discourse; religious scholars, university professors, students, civil and human rights activists, cultural figures, social and media activists shared their concepts and ideas about Islam and liberalism, and speakers delivered their speeches on issues of peace, freedom, tolerance and the fight against extremism from the perspective of Islam and liberalism.

Picture showing the discourse speakers.

In the Kabul session, professor Khalilurahman Sarwary, head of AELSO Academy and one of the speakers of the Islam and liberalism discourse inaugurated the program and said: “Peace, freedom and tolerance are essential needs of our society. These needs are met when our society has the ability to foster a culture of understanding and accepting each other’s differences.”

Professor Khalilurahman Sarwary head of AELSO Academy during his speech.

Continuing with the discourse, Mr. Sayed Mustafa Sayedy, Vice Chancellor of Rana University and a board member of AELSO delivered his talks with an emphasis on the role of universities in the fight against extremism and said:  “The country’s universities can be a place of extremism or a place of mutual acceptance. Unfortunately, the chaos of the last four decades in the country and strict readings and interpretations of Islam, lack of proper research, low level of literacy and lack of accountability of the country’s educational curriculum are some of the important factors in the tendency of young people and students towards extremism in the country’s universities.” Mr. Sayedy also added, “The door to ijtihad should be opened by the scholars of the Islamic world, the ideas of tolerance and mystical literature should be promoted in the country’s universities by university professors, and fundamental changes should be made in the curriculum.”

Mr. Sayed Mustafa Sayedy, Vice Chancellor of Rana University and a board member of AELSO during his speech.

Mohammad Khalid Ramizy, Executive Director of the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization (AELSO) spoke about the organization’s plans and initiatives during the Coronavirus pandemic and the Islam and Liberalism Discourse Program, saying: “Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization fulfilled its human responsibilities in the context of the Coronavirus through webinars, website and social media pages in order to inform the citizens of this country. Moreover, in order to promote the values ​​of peace and tolerance, as a national think tank that has been unrivaled among other organizations in the country and has achieved a number of prestigious international awards in these areas. The Islam and Liberalism Discourse is a new initiative of the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization which aims to promote the values ​​of peace, prosperity and tolerance in the Afghan society.”

Mohammad Khalid Ramizy Executive Director of AELSO delivering his speech.

Furthermore, Mawlawi Baba Jan Saighani, a member of the Council of Islamic Scholars of Afghanistan and a member of the Advisory Board of the Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization spoke about comparing values ​​of Islam and liberalism: “Truly they are not equal, those who make electricity and those who cut down electricity, those who respect humanity and those who kill human beings are not equal. Human beings are creatures who were prostrated by the angels and respect for human dignity is obligatory. When it comes to individual rights and equality Islam can be an example, as the famous hadith goes; when the Prophet of Islam Muhammad PBUH came to one of his companions who was hit by him by a whip at some point in the past, the Prophet PBUH came to his companion as the leader of the Muslims and asked for retribution from his companion. In Liberalism, individual rights and freedoms are emphasized. However, the only restriction on individual liberties is the liberty of others; liberty of others should not be harmed. Likewise, the religion of Islam rejects desecration of others and encouraged human beings to respect each other and respect each other’s rights and freedoms. Therefore, in most cases Islam and Liberalism has very close ties”

Mawlawi Baba Jan Saighani, a member of the Council of Islamic Scholars of Afghanistan and a member of the Advisory Board of AELSO during his speech.

In the next section of the discourse, participants and experts discussed the components of peace, democracy, freedom, mutual acceptance and tolerance and how to fight extremism. The participants said that holding such programs in line with the culture of peace and tolerance is very valuable and useful. One of the participants further added, “The Islam and Liberalism discourse is an initiative worthy of praise and one of the fundamental needs of the Afghan society. Our country is a rainbow of different ethnicities, sects and ideas. To create mutual acceptance and peace, such academic discourses will be useful and effective.”

A few pictures of the Conference participants sharing their ideas and questions with the speakers.

Moreover, in Herat province, the Islam and Liberalism discourse was held and managed according to the agenda in cooperation with the White Assembly movement-Herat. Speakers and participants of the Herat Discourse Program discussed about the components of peace, freedom, democracy, mutual acceptance and the fight against extremism.

Islam and liberalism discourse in Herat Province.

In the Islam and Liberalism Discourse Programs in Kabul and Herat Provinces, the book “Islamic Foundation of a Free Society” from the publications of AELSO, as an academic source which studies the relationship between Islamic and free society values, was introduced and given to the participants of Kabul conference by Mohammad Khalid Ramziy Executive Director of Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization.

Introduction of the book Islamic Foundation of a Free Society by Mr. Khalid Ramizy Executive director of AELSO.

In the final part of the Islam and Liberalism discourse in Kabul and Herat provinces, a certificate of participation with a CD entitled “Ideas for Peace and Prosperity” was awarded to each participant. Finally, the discourse ended with the desire for peace, tolerance and the well-being of the Afghan people. The outcome of these series of discourses will be published in a research book by Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization later this year.

Picture showing the participant of the event receiving their participation certificates and “Ideas for peace & prosperity” CDs.

July 9th, 2020