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Series dissects extremism

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The Arabic Studies Institute is set to embark on a bold series of lectures, which will try to dissect and address the persistent issue of extremism that has plagued the world’s perception of Islam. Recent radical activity by groups such as Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda have further emphasised the need to deconstruct the ideologies of these dissident groups. The lectures are expected to take place from next week Monday, for three consecutive weeks.

The lectures are expected to stray from the simple condemnation of radicalism, and rather look at what motivates individuals towards radical activity. It will also consider the Prophet Muhammed’s (pbuh) approach to extremism.

According to Maulana Shuaib Appleby, the focus would predominantly be on the life of the Prophet (pbuh), relating to the methodology he used in addressing and dealing with these types of “reformation groups”.

“The very model we will be studying is the model which each and everyone accepts, which is the prophetic model implemented by the Prophet, the final messenger of Allah,” he said.

Appleby said the series would strongly address how these individuals were misinterpreting and misapplying the teachings of Islam, and how these distorted perceptions were not in line with the prophetic model. He said the lectures were not meant as a reactionary response to extremist activity, but rather an educational programme in dealing with that kind of mindset.

The actions of extremist groups have fuelled a perception in many individuals, particularly in the Western world, that Islam is a religion of violence and terrorism. According to Appleby, the course would also look to break down these perceptions, and shed light on the geopolitical reality that was promoting them.

“This is also taking into consideration the geopolitical reality. This is where it fits into the imperialist agenda, where there are these types of individuals that legitimise the actions of these extremists, in order to invade other countries,” he said.

The lectures, which is set to be conducted by Maulana Sheikh Saliem Williams, is open to all, and will run for three consecutive Monday, starting on the 16th June. The discussions will take place between 7:30pm until 9:00pm at the Islamic Centre at 60 Albert Rd, Lansdowne. For more information you may contact Maulana Shuaib Appleby at 082 691 9181. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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