Bath Quakers hosted a talk by Rashid Azami, Imam and former director of Bath Islamic Society for Bath Interfaith Group.
Sheikh Azami spoke about peace and justice from a theological point of view, based on how the themes are treated in Islamic teaching.
Speaking about the wider Muslim world, he said the present upheavals were the result of political dysfunction, not of Islamic teaching. “Islam’s primary goal is to serve humanity and foster its development. I have never understood the language of political Islam, or an Islam that frightens people away. The Islam I studied was one of compassion; merciful, fair and logical.” He pointed out that the Prophet Muhammad is acknowledged by the US Supreme Court as one of the world’s great law-givers.
Sheikh Azami spoke about the tensions between different Islamic traditions and explained something of the background. Asked if these tensions were replicated locally today he replied that while Muslims might feel some hostility in Bath it was generally a welcoming society, and the annual interfaith gathering creates a bond. “People do have strong views, he said, “but not to the point that they will be violent, unless they are radicalised by other means. Living with other people is just part of life. My only concern is there should be more engagement.”
“In this world we need to rise above our differences and serve all with justice and fairness if peace is ever to prevail.”