Turkey to Host Conference for Muslim Scholars to Reject 'Caliphate'

Turkey is seeking to host a conference for Muslim scholars in Istanbul during the upcoming days to reject extremism and violence and to safeguard Islam against the so-called "caliphate" that was declared by Sunni militants in Iraq and Syria.

A Turkish envoy held talks with several Muslim scholars and clerics in Beirut to invite them to attend a conference in Istanbul between July 17 and 19, As Safir newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The daily said that the invitations come on behalf of the President of Turkish Religious Affairs, Mohammed Kormaz, in an attempt to bring together Muslim scholars at a conference under the title “World Islamic Scholars Peace, Moderation and Common Sense Initiative.”

Several invitations have been sent to Muslim scholars in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries, the newspaper said.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu are expected to attend the conference.

In June, ruthless jihadists spearheading a Sunni militant offensive in Iraq have declared an "Islamic caliphate" and ordered Muslims worldwide to pledge allegiance to their chief, in a spectacular bid to extend their authority.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) renamed itself simply the Islamic State (IS) and declared its shadowy frontman the leader of the world's Muslims, in a clear challenge to al-Qaida for control of the global jihadist movement.

IS announced that it was establishing a "caliphate" -- an Islamic form of government last seen under the Ottoman Empire -- extending now from Aleppo in northern Syria to Diyala province in eastern Iraq, the regions where it has fought against the regimes in power.

In an audio recording posted online, the group declared its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "the caliph" and "leader for Muslims everywhere". Henceforth, the group said, he is to be known as "caliph Ibrahim" -- a reference to his real name.



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