Faith Associates facilitated the inaugural #ImamsOnline Digital Summit on the 26th of March, 2015 in London, UK. The Summit bought together over 150 Imams, Scholars and Aalimahs from the UK, Europe, Middle East and the US that represented various denominations and schools of thought, in an effort to revisit and better understand the theological narrative behind extremism and rationalise the need for Islamic Leadership to be active and engaged on the digital space.
Faith Associates and Imams Online were honoured to host eminent scholars Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah (UAE) and Shaykh Hazma Yusuf (USA). The underlying premise of the Summit focussed on the need to understand the flawed reasoning of extremist ideologies through a revision of traditional Islamic thought and to encourage a new generation of Muslim thought leadership to be innovative in their methods of communication in order to maintain their authority as religious leaders.
An extended keynote address from Shaykh Hamza Yusuf focussed on the notion of radicalisation in the UK and European context. He imparted much needed practical advice for Muslim leadership in the UK. He focussed on the need to conceptualise the approach of Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah and its critical relevance in addressing the narrative of violent religious extremists. He outlined what needs be done for the promotion of peace and mercy at a global theological level that addresses the schisms and ideologies that are permeating our societies.
The Summit also saw the launch of the digital magazine ‘Haqiqah’ (The Reality). This unique initiative, produced and endorsed by leading UK scholars, launched as a direct response to the content produced by extremists groups such as ISIS, who use their material to radicalise young Muslims. As is quoted in the magazine’s editorial, the likes of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabbab have, for too long, hijacked the right to inform. Haqiqah provides our British Imams and scholars a platform to educate, inform and guide young Muslims on the right path.
Overall the response from the attendees was positive. The coming together of Imams, Scholars and Aalimahs from across the UK served as an opportunity to share ideas, learn from different experiences and make a conscious resolution to work together moving forward. Faith Associates will continue to support the positive work Islamic leaders do across the country and are here to help in the development and training of future generations of Islamic thought leaders.