By Mazin Majeed Asaad Baqal and Hemn Baban
The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) on Monday opened a representative office in the city of Erbil, the administrative capital of northern Iraq’s Kurdish region.
An inauguration ceremony was attended by IUMS Secretary-General Ali Qaradaghi and a host of Kurdish Regional Government officials and local religious figures.
In an opening address, Qaradaghi voiced his pleasure with the new representation office.
Noting that the IUMS conducts numerous studies aimed at resolving issues related to the Muslim community, he said: “The IUMS has always focused on peace and has resolved numerous conflicts through arbitration.”
He also stressed the IUMS’s neutrality and objectivity, describing it as an “independent entity affiliated to no country or NGO”.
Monday’s ceremony was also attended by Said Ahmad Penjweny, an Iraqi cleric.
“Islam is above all other religions,” Penjweny said at the ceremony. “For the world, Islam is a religion of grace.”
He added: “We should show Islam’s beautiful civilization to our friends and enemies alike.”
During his speech at the event, Penjweny also paid tribute to Turkey’s democratic resistance against a deadly coup attempt on July 15, 2016.