An Al-Azhar body on Tuesday slammed negative comments made by the Archbishop of Athens and Greece Ieronymos II on Islam.
In a Facebook statement, the Al-Azhar Observer responded to the archbishop’s remark that Islam is “is not a religion but rather a political party, and its followers are people of war, expansion and influence.”
Criticizing Ieronymos II’s statements as “irresponsible”, the observer added that they were meaningless and not worth proper discussion. It expressed regret that the Archbishop acted with hostility against Islam and Muslim history, and called for dialogue and coexistence instead of fueling hatred against one another.
The Al-Azhar Observer stressed that Islam is an eternal message from God sent to Prophet Mohamed to bring humanity out of darkness. The statement added that the claim that Islam is a political party is nonsense, as Islam predates the establishment of political parties and the modern idea of politics.
“Islam contains a way of life that made it valid for every time and place, and that the sharia law of this final religion had laid the main foundations related to politics, such as consultation, justice, equality and freedom,” the statement reads.
Accusing Muslims of being “people of war and expansion” is a falsehood that ignores that Muslim history is full of forgiveness, the statement said, adding that all invasions made by the prophet were done so in self-defense or to punish those who betrayed covenants and charters.