In “Jordan’s King: Muslims should correct tarnished image,” from Al-Bawaba (thanks to Skeetstreet), comes Jordan’s Abdullah saying that Muslims must combat “defamation” of Islam — defamation by likes of Osama, Omar Bakri and Abu Bakar Bashir, evidently: those who teach violence in the name of Islam.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Monday called on the adherents to the eight schools of Islam thought to unify their positions on the contemporary challenges facing Islam and to counter distortions of the religion during the opening of the International Islamic Conference in Amman. According to Petra, the eight Islamic schools include the four Sunni schools, the Ja’fari Shi’i school, the Ibadi school, the Zaydi school and the Thahiri school.
Addressing a gathering of around 170 Islamic scholars and thinkers of 40 different nationalities, the Jordanian monarch stressed Muslims are obliged to correct the tarnished image of Islam. “Primary among our obligations as Muslims is to present to the world the true essence of Islam. Islam is not the religion of violence and terrorism, or prejudice and isolation”, he said, adding that “those who promulgate “Islamic” slogans, have defamed Islam and Muslims, and harmed Muslims, intentionally or unintentionally.”
How seriously should we take his words? Well, consider this: “Jordan frees spiritual mentor of Qaeda’s Zarqawi,” from Reuters, with thanks to Skeetstreet and EPG:
AMMAN (Reuters) – A Muslim cleric who molded the militant Islamic views of al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, sworn foe of U.S. forces in Iraq, has been freed from prison in Jordan, Islamist and security sources said on Monday.
Issam Barqawi, better known as Sheikh Abu Mohammad al-Maqdisi, 43, was released on June 28 after a six-month detention at intelligence headquarters following his acquittal at a trial of Jordanian and Saudi sympathizers of al Qaeda.
Political sources were uncertain what prompted the release of Maqdisi, now under close surveillance by authorities at his house near Zarqa, east of the capital, where fellow Jordanian Zarqawi was born.
“Maqdisi now has an ability to move more freely and reach out to his followers. This could pose a security risk and galvanize fundamentalists especially since Zarqawi remains at large,” said one official who requested anonymity.
Muslim scholars who follow Zarqawi’s religious utterances on the Internet say Maqdisi’s teachings have had a profound influence on the militant’s mindset ever since they shared a jail cell in Jordan from 1995 to 1999.
“Zarqawi was a student of Sheikh Maqdisi, who was a source of inspiration for him in jihad (holy war),” said Mohammad Najjar, an Islamist scholar familiar with Maqdisi’s background….
Some activists suggested Maqdisi’s release could play a moderating role on Zarqawi, whose Tawhid and Jihad group is seen by U.S. commanders in Iraq as the deadliest threat they face following a string of bombings, kidnappings and beheadings.
A moderating role. Yeah, sure, that’s it. A moderating role.
The activists cited Maqdisi’s letters to Zarqawi, published earlier this year on Web sites, that urged him “to avoid car bombings in public places and spare the blood of Muslim civilians as much as possible.”
“The letter sought to tell Zarqawi he agreed with him in the general goal of jihad in Iraq but was against his tactics, especially car bombings,” Najjar said.
Activists say the letter sought to advise Zarqawi to step up attacks on the U.S. military but avoid bombings in populated areas that eroded popular support for the insurgency.