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Algeria: Muslim scholars distance themselves from their international union 

August 22, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Ex-President of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Ahmad Al-Raysuni

The Association of Algerian Muslim Scholars (AOMA) has announced that it has suspended its activities in the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) in protest at recent statements by the union’s president and his failure to apologise, Al Quds Al Arabi has reported.

Abdul Razzaq Qasoum, the head of the AOMA, told Radio Algeria that the decision will remain in place unless IUMS President Ahmad Al-Raysuni makes an explicit apology or resigns. Qasoum called on all Muslim scholars affiliated with the IUMS to back the AOMA decision and do the same.

The dispute revolves around the issue of Western Sahara. Algeria supports the Polisario Front and its call for independence. Al-Raysuni appeared to back Morocco in its claim of sovereignty over the territory.

Many Algerians believe that the scholar’s explanation of his remarks exploited the IUMS platform to promote the Moroccan view of the conflict. Moreover, he did not include any apology to Algeria and Mauritania, as promised by the IUMS Secretary-General Ali Al-Qaradaghi.

AOMA members are also involved in the activities of the IUMS due to intellectual rapprochement within the framework of what is known as the school of moderation. Qasoum is part of the IUMS secretariat.

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Al-Qaradaghi, meanwhile, made it clear that Al-Raysuni’s comments did not represent the IUMS position on Western Sahara. He pointed out that the union’s positions are taken by consensus between the president and the secretary general, and the president is not entitled to take a decision alone. He also expressed his reservations about Al-Raysuni’s statements saying that they contradict the union’s rules calling for the avoidance of anything that provokes discord among Muslims.

Qasoum added that Al-Raysuni’s call for jihad against Algeria is a clear violation of the concept of jihad in Islam, which is not supposed to be waged against fellow Muslims.