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A Declaration of Muslim Unity

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We, the undersigned, declared that,

· Whosoever is an adherent of the recognised Sunni and Shi’i Schools of Jurisprudence is a Muslim;

· It is not possible to declare as apostates any group of Muslims who believe in Allah the Mighty and Sublime and Allah’s Messenger (Peace and Blessings be upon him) and respects the pillars of Islam;

· There exists more in common between the various Schools of Jurisprudence than there are differences. The adherents to these Schools of Jurisprudence are in agreement as regards the basic principles of Islam, the five pillars of Islam and the foundations of belief;

· Acknowledging the diversity of Schools of Jurisprudence and affirming discussion and engagement between them ensures fairness, moderation, mutual forgiveness, compassion, and only by engaging in dialogue with our fellow Muslims can we advance our understanding of our faith and

· Historically these various Schools have lived in relative harmony in various countries and find commonality in the annual Hajj pilgrimage where they all gather in a display or universalism and unity.


· We are deeply apprehensive at the way in which discourse in the Muslim community is beginning to assume a sectarian dimension;

· We are aware that the entrenched sectarian fault lines add to the existing tensions within our beleaguered communities;

· We witness with great sorrow the destructive potential of sectarian strife as evidenced in present day Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, Pakistan and other countries;

· We are conscious of the strategy of ‘divide and rule’ used by colonial and imperial powers to subjugate the Muslim world;

· We call on all Muslims to recognize that, as in the past, ethnic and sectarian fragmentation can only benefit those who oppose Muslim self-determination;

· We recognise that conflicts in areas of the Middle-East are driven primarily by political considerations and that religious sectarianism is imposed on such conflicts in order to drive particular ideological and political agendas;

· We express our concern that the ‘Ulama organisations in this country are at the forefront of creating this sectarian strife, in what seems an orchestrated campaign driven by foreign elements;

· We are all too conscious that one cannot separate the emotive discourse used to promote sectarian division from its violent consequences;

· We are particularly concerned that agencies involved in the distribution of aid are becoming sectarian and engaging in political and ideological partisanship;

· We urge Muslims throughout the world to shun the language of sectarian mischief or strife in favour of a sacred struggle for justice, freedom and self-determination, and

· We appeal to all Muslims to be inspired by the spirit and principles of mutual recognition, mutual respect, pluralism and solidarity. * (extracts from the Sunni Shia Unity Declaration launched in the UK in 2007)

We call on the South African Muslim community to:

· Desist from using religious platforms to divide the community along sectarian lines;

· Desist from labelling as apostates those who believe in the pillars of the faith;

· Avoid creating a religious dimension to conflicts that are fundamentally geo-political;

· Avoid supporting aid agencies that play a sectarian and divisive role in our communities;

· Embrace legitimate differences within our community with respect and compassion, and

· Support all struggles for freedom, liberty and self-determination around the world.

8 December 2013, South Africa

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