DECLARATION N°24 DATED: 30/03/1441AH- 28/11/2019CE
SUBJECT: A CALL TO PUTTING AN END TO THE LABELLING OF ARMED GROUPS AS JIHADISTS
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the world. May His blessing and mercy be upon Prophet Muhammad, his Household and the entire Companions.
To start with, the Union of African Muslim Scholars has observed in recent times an increased and widespread branding of criminal acts as “Jihad” and armed groups as “Jihadists”, especially by some media outlets and stakeholders in parts of Africa.
Arising from its mandate, the Union of African Muslim Scholars calls for a total end to the use of the word “Jihad” for criminal activities, or “Jihadists” for the armed groups that perpetrate them and are widespread throughout Africa, especially in the Sahel states and the Horn of Africa. This appeal is directed to all segments of the society in these states and others, and more specifically, the stakeholders, men of the press, the educated elite and the leadership of civil society organizations.
The Union rejects the use of the term “Jihad” to describe such acts on the basis of the following:
• That the use of the term “Jihad” for such acts or “Jihadists” for the groups that perpetrate them is an affront to Islam whether deliberately or unintentionally, due to the known connection of the term Jihad with an Islamic tradition which has its rules, its conditions, its special position in the religious texts, and its persistence throughout the history of Islam.
• That by using the term “Jihadists” for such groups, we are deliberately or unintentionally lending moral support for the groups that perpetrate such acts.
• The negative effect the wrong use of this term is likely to have on less conscious Muslim youths, as they may be incited to join those groups or to carry out such acts at an individual level.
Finally, the Union of African Muslim Scholars, in pursuance to previous declarations and appeals, calls for more collaborative efforts at getting rid of causes of insecurity and turbulence in order to restore peace and harmony in our societies.
May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his household and the entire Companions.