TEHRAN - The 23rd International Conference of Islamic Unity opened in Tehran on Tuesday.
Scholars from 48 countries are attending the three-day conference organized by the World Forum for the Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought.Hasn't worked so far, but, hey who's to say that Shias and Sunnis couldn't set aside their differences--at least for the time being--so that sharia can call the shots? One thing that confused me, though: that "proximity" thing. What the heck is a World Forum for the Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought when it's at home in its robe and slippers? Well, a little digging and all is revealed. Seems "proximity" has nothing to do with setting up madrassahs in more convenient locations. It's actually a Shia-driven effort designed to reconcile the heretofore irreconcilable schools of throught about Mohammed's birthday. As this website explains:
Plots hatched by the enemies of the Islamic ummah, ignorance and bias, extremism, the consequences of sectarianism, and the promotion of dialogue in the Muslim world are some of the topics that are being discussed at the conference.
In the inaugural address of the conference, Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said that freedom of thought and Islamic ethics are the keys for achieving unity among Muslims.
Given its vast extent and potential, the Islamic world could be the strongest part of the international community, but unfortunately, it is afflicted by a number of disputes, Rafsanjani noted.
He stated that the Muslim world has a population of 1.6 billion in 60 countries, some located in the most strategic parts of the world, and it is a pity if Muslim countries are not able to unite or do not have good cooperation.
He said all Muslims believe in the Holy Quran and should utilize this common point to resolve their disputes.
According (sic) Islamic narrations of the Sunni Muslims, the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal is recognized as the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (s). On the other hand Islamic sources relied upon by Shia Muslims and based on the narrations from the Ahlul Bayt (The Prophet's pure progeny) the auspicious birthday of the Prophet was on 17th of Rabi-al-Awwal. In order to bridge this difference and use it as an opportunity to unite the ranks of Muslims, the founder of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Imam Khomeini designated the period of Maulid celebrations from 12th to the 17th of Rabi al-Awwal as the Islamic Unity Week. This dynamic concept aims to bring all Muslim schools of thought on the common platform of Islamic unity.On second thought, scratch that stuff about the ummah backing the strongest horse. If they can't even get together on the date of Mo's birth, the chances of their patching up their other differences strikes me as being extremely remote.