Academicians and intellectuals have blamed lack of human rights and injustices as among the major causes of radicalism and extremism that could lead to terrorism

and called on the Government to use dialogue with religious communities to reduce its damaging impact. These observations were  made in a one-day symposium held at the University of Nairobi to interrogate the problem of radicalism and world peace. The conference attracted prominent scholars and intellectuals from the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, St. Paul University College, Tangaza University College, and  Umma University among others. In his presentation, Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Tangaza University College Dr Felix J. Phiri examined ways in which religious extremism in its negative manifestation could be approached more as a problem of entire society that could be tackled by means of  dialogue. “Both the State and Muslims need to cooperate through dialogue in order to contain and limit the damaging impact of extremism on social  cohesion,” said Dr Phiri. Dr. Abdallah Kheir of Kenyatta University noted that it was hard to achieve peace in a world when some people feel they are  enied their fundamental human rights and when injustices become the order of day.

“Hence, both lack of human rights and injustices can be among the major causes of radicalism, extremism that could even lead to terrorism,” he  said. The scientific conference was organised by the Cultural Council of the Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran in conjunction with the University of Nairobi, Department of Philosophy and Religious studies under the theme “Radicalism, Extremism and World Peace.” The Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran H.E. Malik Hussein Givzad in his opening remarks accused powerful states of being behind the rise of extremist agendas around the  world that they are now failing to withstand it. “Today’s anti-Westernisation is the offspring of yesterday’s colonialism and a reaction to yesterday’s  racism,” Givzad said.

During the event which took place on Sunday, 15th March, 2015, scholars presented papers on radicalism, extremism and world peace including:; the emergence of religious radicalism and extremism: a comparative analysis, Respect for religious rights and peaceful co-existence in Kenya,  Media, radicalism and extremism: the right to know, Radical philosophies and human rights, Effect of extremist movements on Muslim-Christian relations amongst other topical issues on radicalism and extremism. Also presenting his paper, Dr. Hassan Kinyua of University of Nairobi emphasised that Islam like any other religion preaches peace, non-violence and advocates for peaceful coexistence through Qur’anic teachings which against extremism and radicalization. “Islam is totally committed to peace and security,” said Dr Kinyua. “It views with great contempt, breach of  peace, anarchy, extremism and radicalization,” he added. Kinyua further stressed that Muslims as an Ummah are a peaceloving community. On the  issue of the often misconceived application of Jihad, Dr Kinyua said the Qur’an teaches that Jihad is only allowed subject to certain conditions as  stated by Allah in the Holy Qur’an, “If anyone slays a person- unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land -it would be as if he slew  all people. And if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all people (Qur’an 5:32). This conference was conceived as one of the  measures to help tame increasing extremism that appear to be growing rapidly in Kenya leading to terrorist attacks and posing a threat to national security as well as a positive step towards enhancing better understanding of Islam to rebut extremists’ myths and half-truths.

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