The leaders of Kurdistan Region's three Islamic parties. Photo Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The three main Islamic parties of the Kurdistan Region recently held high-level meetings in a bid to further strengthen trilateral relations and initiate their shared work, planning a joint conference to bring together participants from many Islamic entities in Kurdistan, the spokesman for the Islamic Movement (IMK) said.
“The three Islamic parties in early April will hold a big forum in which more than 30 Islamic organizations, personalities and university teachers will participate,” IMK’s Kamil Mahmoud told Rudaw about the event scheduled for the beginning of April.
“It is highly likely that the forum will be held in Sulaimani as most participants will come from there, and it will last for one day,” he detailed. “A roadmap for Islamic work will be presented to participants of the conference so that their notes are taken into consideration to enrich the roadmap.”
Following a series of politburo meetings, Salahaddin Bahaddin of the Islamic Union (KIU), Ali Bapir of the Islamic Group (Komal), Irfan Abdulaziz of the IMK met in the city of Sulaimani on 31 December 2016 and decided on forming a Joint High Commission.
The commission met in Erbil in late February in the presence of leaders of the three key Islamic parties, who agreed on a draft roadmap for shared work.
“A number of personalities have been discussed to be invited to this big forum which will debate how to develop Islamic work in the Kurdistan Region in all respects,” the Islamic Union’s representative in the high commission for Islamic assistance, Khalil Ibrahim, told Rudaw.
Sheikh Abdul Latif, a Salafi personality, and Naqshbandi Sheikh Muhsen Mufti both have rejected joining any the project, saying that they are not political parties or organizations to engage in joint work.
“There are efforts to broaden the basis of the forum to include not only political parties, but Islamic personalities like imams and people engaged in organizational work, too,” Ibrahim added.
In addition to the three main Islamic parties of the region set to attend, other independent bodies like the Gasha group, headed by Mohamed Baziani, and independent personalities such as Aram Qadir, previously a Komal politburo and now engaged with political and organizational work are expected to be present.
“We will attend the forum as a political party, although we are not an Islamic party. We work on the basis of citizenship, but we have decided to participate in this project for the sake of developing the conditions of Islam in southern Kurdistan,” Baziani said.
“The project of assisting Islam is different from the state of (Islamic) parties. We think that many people work outside our and Islamic parties’ circle and they exist. That is why this forum and the whole project should involve all Islamic parties, organizations, personalities and those who have an Islamic background.”
The intent of the event is to have an inviting forum where dialogues can take place.
“There is no opposition to the invitation of any party or personality. Our purpose in taking these steps and initiating these projects is to gather all Islamic strength and capacities. Hence, no party will be sidelined,” Mahmud said, also confirming that two of their personalities have been invited to attend the forum.
The conference is part of a wider effort by the Islamic parties to enhance communication and interaction, as a part of their road map through the Joint High Commission. They currently have 17 parliamentary seats in the Kurdistan Region’s 111-seat parliament.