SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, HEAD OF STATE, HEM MOHAMED BAZOUM – SECOND EDITION OF THE AFRICAN CONFERENCE FOR PEACE – NOUACKCHOTT, MAURITANIA

Bismillahi Alrahmane Arrahim

Mr.      Minister of Islamic Affairs and Original Education,

Ladies and Gentlemen Ministers,

His Eminence, the Scholar, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Beyyah        , Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace, Chairman of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies,

Ladies        and Gentlemen Ambassadors, Eminent Ulemas from all over Africa, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to sincerely thank Sheikh Abdullah Bin Beyyah, President of the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace, for the honor he has done me to give me this great opportunity to address this prestigious audience of men of faith, erudite men to talk about Islam and Peace as conceived by this religion.

This debate is necessary, what am I saying?, it is urgent as it is true today that in the name of Islam, so many abominations are happening in the world. Those who disguise Islam so much and give it such a negative international image, do so in the name of a reading of the Koran at odds with what this delicate text contains. Our duty is to undermine all these perverse readings and the heretical behaviors they generate in order to ensure the triumph of the deeply humanist project of this religion so far removed from the caricature that is given of it.

I am particularly happy that this debate is taking place in Mauritania, the matrix of an Islam that was carried forward by men who were as learned as they were devoted and who ensured its expansion throughout the Sahel and well beyond. This Islam of Mauritania is the authentic model of an Islam which makes no room for violence and the theoretical lucubrations which serve as its fuel.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The customary greeting of the Muslim who introduced my remarks already asserts the peaceful intention which is the principle of our profane and sacred life.

Islam has always advocated peace and respect between individuals, between peoples and with oneself: benevolence towards peoples and Abrahamic religions is a principle that is both religious and social. Even in the context of the Arabian region of the 7th century, peace between the tribes was required, in order to put an end to the raids for the tranquility of the populations and their economic activities, in particular the caravan trade. Islam then immediately instituted a sacred calendar which offered truces in the various tribal and commercial conflicts. In this regard, the Quraysh tribe played an important role in the process of unification of tribes living from pastoral activities and raiding. The repercussions of the trade will pacify the tribal conflicts in the region of Hijaz, the cradle of Islam, particularly in Mecca. The principle of conflict had certainly not disappeared because forms of violence persisted resulting in practices of enslavement, slavery, and other types of tension, but mores had been singularly pacified, generating a feeling of increased security.

Islam is therefore based on a demand for peace, love, benevolence and recognition of human dignity, on a basis of transcendence and shared faith. It proposes a society of peace and harmony, beyond the Arabs, to all of humanity. By making science an imperative, through the injunction to read (Iqra!) Islam creates the conditions to prevent the practice of faith from being in contradiction with the holy benevolence and humility which are inseparable from the peace.

Many Suras insist and indeed reveal with clarity the close links between peace and Islam.

“The truth comes from our Lord; say: whoever wants to be a believer, let him be, and whoever wants to be an unbeliever, let him be” (Qur’an, Sura 18, verse 29).

“no compulsion in religion” (Sura 2, verse 256) or “God does not like aggressors” (Sura 2, verse 290).

Or this other verse in which it is said: “the servants of the Merciful are those who walk with modesty and who answer: Peace! To the ignorant who speak to them” (Sura 25, verse 63).

It is not superfluous to recall that the terms of Silm and Salam, in the sense of peace, concord, as opposed to war, return in 49 suras.

Indeed, peace is the principle of the quest of the Muslim who is anything but submissive: Islam means humility, in the sense that Socrates affirms “know yourself, yourself” as an ethic of humility through the refusal of the sin of pride and vanity, and therefore by reflexive recognition of the limits of the finite human.

Openness to tolerance and humility stem from a quasi-necessity: the virtue of the Muslim is to learn (Iqra) so as to avoid thinking of himself beyond his creator, as the first cause of the World and its to be.

To fully understand this, we must refer to the meaning given to the word Jihad, this term so overused and so controversial today. The most widespread meaning of this term actually stems from a misunderstanding because Jihad consists of an effort and a quest above all personal and spiritual. Man must by Ijtihad drive out pride and vanity in himself in order to humbly receive the word of peace in the soul and heart of the Muslim pacified by the practice and ritual of the obligations of faith and above all, appeased by the presence of the divine in him and outside him.

This major, spiritual Jihad, which differs from the minor Jihad (which results in war) makes it possible to channel the violence of satanic impulses in man and sublimates warlike violence into spiritual asceticism and into incessant learning of social, political and psychic. An authentic Muslim is a man of peace in search of benevolence so that the purity of his heart opens him to the tranquility and peace of God, for the greater good of the Umma. The great discord (Al fitna Al kebira) is that which cracks the soul of the believer who then lets earthly vanity speak in him instead of God who has deposited his word (Kalam) in his soul through the holy book.

Thus, the expression of conversion: “Aslam taslam” can be understood and translated in two senses: “submit, your life will be saved” or “embrace Islam, you will be at peace”. If we forget that one of the names of God is Salam, we can be mistaken in a literal understanding losing sight of the divine injunction in this case to make peace with oneself, the other and the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In truth, there is reason not to confuse the wars to be waged. The Malikite jurists in the Maghreb have settled the question the way we know. According to them, it is necessary to obey the authority which respects the religious practice of citizens and those subject to divine law. In this sense, legitimate religious authority, which is not blinded by the present, is that which authorizes civil peace and does not confuse conflicts in the spiritual world with those in the earthly world, in order to better drive out violence and to avoid war between men.

There cannot therefore be true Muslim terrorists and criminals, Islam condemning the killings of the innocent. Every man who builds peace is under the benevolence and grace of God. Any man who assassinates and kills, in the name of God, brothers and sisters, is a vulgar criminal doubly at fault. Terrorist violence is the enemy of God because it is the enemy of peace which is the name of God for all Muslims on earth. The dogmas frozen outside of history, which criminals claim in a totally illegitimate way, are benchmarks maintained outside the dialectic of the meaning of the Koran and its understanding. This is why they produce fixed systems, which inevitably lead to conflicts of civilizations by denying the profoundly inclusive and fraternal character of Islam.

Heresy therefore consists in forgetting the meaning of study and humility at the base of the ritual and ritualized practice of Islam leading to this fraternal and just peace. The peace of Islam requires work, a continuous effort in order to lead the human being to the deep recognition of practicing this peace, in oneself and outside oneself, as being the divine path and the way of openness to another as an ethic of godly living. It is in this sense that our societies will find the justice and benevolence that guarantee peace and security in the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, the countries of the Sahel are ravaged by an implacable war, which is the work of young people recruited in the name of Islam and whose cruel violence has caused thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of displaced people doomed to precariousness. absolute, for the most part ironically, Muslims. It has been possible for people to be killed en masse inside mosques, even during the holy month of Ramadan. Do we really need to be particularly knowledgeable about these issues to realize that those who were able to create such monsters are anything but men with the slightest regard for Islam? In truth, in the Sahel more than elsewhere, the prevalence and instrumentalization of supposedly rigorous ideas hardly masks what is only a sordid enterprise of

The uneducated young people in charge of violence in our region, who think they are in the service of God, are in reality in the service of greedy men who have ordered them to steal the cattle of the poor and impose a tithe on the poorest scandalously called Zakat . The regions of Mali, Niger, Burkina and the Lake Chad basin affected by this scourge of terrorism claiming to be Islamic are experiencing real human tragedies against a backdrop of economic disasters, the effects of which will mark the populations living there for a long time. It is no coincidence that it is in the Sahel that the two major international terrorist groups, DAESH and AL QAEDA, have epigones whose random grips are called Provinces. Far from revealing the viability of the false doctrines underlying their project, the phenomenon is taking a caricatural turn that reveals its moral and political impasse. If this area of ​​the Sahel is today the scene of this tragedy, this is quite simply indicative of the low level of education of young people and the state of their social distress. It is in any case far from being the proof of any success of their criminal doctrines.

Rather, peace is the political and spiritual truth of Islam. As salam is the attribute of God which is repeated daily by the Muslim.

Let us then try by our actions and our words to pacify the world where violence and division are daily challenges for the authentic Muslim.

I thank you for your benevolent listening and I ask you to receive the expression of all my desire for fraternity, unity and harmony.

Assalam aleikoum.

Peace be upon you, my brothers .

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