KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Dec. 15, 2010) — Imam Johari Adbul-Malik, an American Islamic scholar from Washington D.C., spoke to more than 200 Afghan religious leaders about Islam in America at the Kapisa Provincial Capital’s conference hall, here Nov. 11. Johari’s talk focused on freedom of religion, religious tolerance and Islamic practice in the U.S.
The talk was part of an ongoing outreach initiative to imams and religious leaders in Regional Command-East, including Parwan, Kapisa, Bayman, Logar and Wardak provinces. During which, leaders discuss contemporary social issues and religious moderation. The initiative is part of the Traditional Community Assistance Program in the region. Adbul-Malik’s visit was facilitated by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
Adbul-Malik was warmly welcomed to Kapisa by the acting Provincial Governor, Sharif and key religious leaders. The governor thanked Johari for visiting Kapisa and explaining Islam’s role in America. Adbul-Malik then began his speech which outlined the history of Islamic practice in the U.S. and highlighted the fact that millions of Americans are Muslim. It also contained a detailed exposition of religious freedom and tolerance in the U.S.
“All segments of American society, including followers and leaders of other religious faiths, strongly condemned it,” said Johari when addressing the recent Koran burning incident in Florida.
All in attendance responded to the speech with cheers and shouts of excitement followed by lifted fists. Loud endorsements also followed Johari’s comments about American ties to Afghanistan and American sympathy for the Afghan people.
“I am both heartened and surprised to hear that Islam is freely practiced in the U.S.,” said Mawlawi Gul Mohammad the Kapisa Province Chairman of the Ulema Council, a group of Afghan religious scholars. “The Afghan people are very interested in the role of Islam and Muslims in American society.”
Following the event at Kapisa, Adbul-Malik traveled to Bagram Airfield to deliver a speech to approximately 50 local Afghan associates on the importance of interfaith coexistence and cooperation. He spoke of Islam’s history of tolerance, the importance of peace, and the need for collaboration between followers of all faiths to rebuild Afghanistan.
“Afghans must remain committed to working with the international community to rebuild their country,” said Johari.