IWPR KR Lecture: Principles of Human Rights and Tolerance in Islam
“Muslims of Kyrgyzstan should be an example for others in terms of respecting others and their opinions, sowing peace and creative life on the Earth”, said Ravshan aji Eratov, the deputy Mufti, and Indira Aslanova, a theologian, the head of the research Department of the Center for Religious Studies, in a lecture for students in Osh, Jalal-Abad and Bishkek.
A representative of the Muslim clergy Eratov reiterated during his lecture about the peaceful nature of Islam, that the religion always teaches people to live in peace and harmony, respect the opinions and viewpoints of others and resolve conflicts, reconcile those in conflict and not encourage controversy.
Using the example of passages from the Koran, Aslanova told the students that even during the epoch of Prophet Muhammad (Saba), his followers respected the basic human rights that are declared this day; she told about the diversity of the world and equality, regardless of religious, ethnic, colour differences or language.
This lecture on “Principles of religious tolerance, general tolerance and human rights in Islam” for the students of the largest universities of the southern region of the country with the participation of a prominent religious leader and a scholar of Islam was organized by the representative office of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) in Kyrgyzstan in the framework of the conflict prevention project, funded by the EU and the Government of Norway.
In connection with the widespread practice of distortion of Islam ideas by some groups and with radicalization of a certain part of the Muslims, especially the youth, the IWPR has launched a series of lectures on the principles of tolerance and respect for diversity among students in Kyrgyzstan.
“Islam does not prohibit contact with representatives of other religious denominations. On the contrary, our religion rejects injustice and discrimination against any person on this earth, – said aji Eratov during his speech to the students. – Islam is a source of the principles of care, love and respect for others. Islam teaches to respect others, to avoid misunderstandings and to avoid conflicts”
In this part, the deputy Mufti quoted verses from the Koran and gave examples of how imams and other pious Muslims prevented collisions during the June events of 2010, or how spiritual leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on both sides of the border in December 2014, visited various households and explained the need for resolving border disputes peacefully.
During the lecture, the students of both universities actively discussed and asked a variety of questions: about Da’waat, about extremists, about the Kyrgyz who left for Syria and others.
The deputy Mufti replied that being a Muslim was a big responsibility. He said, for example, that before going to Da’waat, a believer must provide his family with all the necessary things and be sure that his absence during this period will not imply any discomfort to his wife and children, and telling others about Islam, spreading its ideas among others, a true believer must be highly educated and savvy in these issues.
Aslanova, a scholar, elaborated on “The principles of freedom and human rights in Islam.”
In today’s world, people often talk about human rights, tolerance, freedoms and guarantees, etc., and rarely associate these terms with the principles of Islam.
Indira explained to the audience that for a long time, the Muslims have respected the principle of respect for human rights and freedoms in the world regardless of differences, and she unambiguously confirmed it using the passages from the Koran – the holy book of Muslims.
“Islam teaches that differences in religion and ideology are natural to man and humanity as a whole. Therefore, we should show respect to others and accept diversity as a reality”, said the head of the research department of the Center for Religious Research.
She further elaborated on the theme of moderation in Islam, which is now so relevant in the light of such wide-spread concepts as “radical Muslims”, “Islamic fanaticism”, “Islamic terrorists”, “jihad”, etc.
“Sunnah is the key to moderation. One of the most important functions of the Sunnah is keeping Muslims from the extremes, excesses and errors, the cause of which could be misinterpretation of the Holy Koran, – drew the attention of students Indira Aslanova, quoting Sura 4: 143. – It means that only a Muslim who is moderate in views and avoids extremes, is fair and is considered a witness before Allah. In another part, it is stressed that the Muslim should avoid excessiveness even in matters of religion, worshipping and service to Allah”
The lecturer also said that Islam teaches us not to impose the religion on others and quoted three verses from the Koran, one of which reads as follows:
“For you is your religion, and for me is my religion” (Koran Surat 109: 6).
The lecture with participation of a religious scholar Indira Aslanova and Deputy Mufti Ravshan aji Eratov on the topic “Principles of religious tolerance, general tolerance and human rights in Islam” were held on April 22 and 23, 2015 in Osh State University and Jalalabat State University, on May 6, 2015 in Bishkek for students of International University of Kyrgyzstan and Kyrgyz State University named after Ishenaly Arabaev. In total 336 students took part in these lectures.