Indonesia Hosts Sunni-Shiite Meeting

The Indonesian city of Bogor plays host, April 3, to the International Sunni-Shiite Ulemas (scholars) conference, the first meeting of its kind in the predominantly Muslim country in an effort to bridge the Sunni-Shiite gap.

Indonesia Hosts Sunni-Shiite Meeting

The Indonesian city of Bogor plays host Tuesday,April 3, to the International Sunni-Shiite Ulemas (scholars) conference, thefirst meeting of its kind in the predominantly Muslim country in an effort tobridge the Sunni-Shiite gap.

"We are concerned about it. Muslim Indonesiawhich does not have any problem with the two groups, can hopefully mediate thegap," Head of the Organizing Committee Rozi Munir told IslamOnline.netMonday, April 2.

Rozi, a former minister and currently the deputychairman of the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU),said his country is keen on playing a pivotal role in ending Shiite-Sunniconflicts.

Pinning high hopes on the two-day conference, Rozisaid his committee has been working behind the scenes to organize the meetingto make it a success.

"We intentionally set up it in silence to avoidcontroversy. That why we are holding the event remote from capital city,"he said, referring to the city of Bogor, 65kilometers from Jakarta.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is dueto open the conference, which is held against a backdrop of mountingShiite-Sunni tensions over the raging sectarian violence in Iraq, which killsdozens day in an day out in unquenched revenge attacks.

The Indonesian government has invited 25 Sunni andShiite scholars from countries such as Malaysia,Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon,Iran, Iraq and Syria, according to Rozi.

Iran's Participation

But Ahmad Suaedy, the head of an Indonesian delegationto the conference, predicted that Iranmight snub the Indonesian invitation in protest at Jakarta'sbacking of UN Security Council resolution 1747 over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

"If Iran is absent then the meetingwill be unsuccessful," said Ahmad, the chairman of the Wahid Institute,which was initiated by former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid to promotemulticulturalism and inter-faith tolerance.

He said an Iranian boycott of the conference wouldmake it " a merely ineffective discussion without any concreteconsensus."

Besides, Suaedy said, the meeting would also beineffective without inviting THE main Western players in the Middle East likethe United Statesand European heavyweights.

Iraq's sectarian bloodletting has sparked fears of a region-wideSunni-Shiite conflict.

In the first high-profile meeting between top Sunniand Shiite scholars, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, thehead of Iran'sinfluential Expediency Council, called on February 14 on Muslims worldwide toact in unison and take into their strides differences to face challenges ahead.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Saudi Arabiaearly in March to ease Sunni-Shiite tensions.

In his meeting with King Abdulla Bin Abdel Aziz,Ahmadinejad have warned against "the plots carried out by the enemies inorder to divide the world of Islam."

Award-winning American investigative reporterSeymour Hersh has revealed that Washingtonwas sowing a flammable Sunni-Shiite divide to weaken the newly-bolsteredIranian role in the region.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16