Wed, 20 Jan 2021 - 03:59 GMT
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos - Wikimedia commons
CAIRO – 20 January 2021: Statements by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Mr. Ieronymos about Islam have caused controversy, prompting criticism from prestigious Muslim bodies, including Al-Azhar in Egypt.
Mr. Ieronymos made remarks saying that Islam is not a religion, but a political party with political pursuit and its people are people of war. “They are the people of the spread, this is a characteristic of Islam,” he said as quoted by Greek news outlets. The statements that were seen by Al-Azhar as “farcical comments and empty claims.”
The controversy stirred by the statements pushed Archbishop Ieronymos to clarify his statement later on Wednesday.
Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism denounced in a report issued on Wednesday Archbishop Ieronymos’s statements as “farcical comments and empty trivial claims that do not amount to be discussed or given attention,” stressing that “Islam is the eternal divine message that God Almighty sent Prophet Muhammed with, to bring humanity out of darkness and ignorance to the light of truth and guidance.”
Al-Azhar report added that claiming Islam is a political party is a “fabrication of history” because the Islamic religion existed before the establishment of political parties, and even before the term politics was used in its modern meaning.
“Islam includes a life approach that made it suitable for every time and place,” said the report, adding that Islamic Sharia (rulings derived from Islam) has laid the major foundation related to politics, such as consultations, justice, equality and freedom.
Al-Azhar pointed out that accusing Muslims of being “people of war, expansion and influence” is pure lying, fraud and falsification of the history of Muslims, which is full of forgiveness and pardon, stressing that the prophet’s invasion were either in defense of Muslims or for disciplining those who betrayed covenants.
The observatory expressed its regret over the issuance of these hostile statements against Islam and the history of Muslims, calling for strengthening the principles of brotherhood instead of fueling the speech of hatred of others.
Later on Wednesday, Archbishop Ieronymos clarified his statements through his spokesperson who said that “The Archbishop and our Church respect in practice all the known religions,” adding that the statements about Islam meant the “extreme fundamentalists who sow terror and death throughout the Universe,” as quoted by the Greek City Times website.