No doubt meant to coincide with the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, in a speech directed from Cairo's Al-Azhar mosque and university to Muslims of the world, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi - عبد الفتاح السيسي, has challenged the "ulama" (Islamic scholars) and "ummah" (the worldwide community of Muslims) to begin what amounts to an Islamic Reformation. Watch the historic video from Cairo here below. Click on the small "CC" icon at the bottom right of the video to get English subtitles:
These are the highlights of his speech, from the blog of my friend Raymond Ibrahim:
"I am referring here to the religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!
"That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!
"Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!
"I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.
"All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.
"I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands. [bolds mine]
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