Dialogue needed for peace and tolerance

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Tue, 07 February 2012

The ‘week’ is held in recognition of the fact that Islam and Arab Islamic culture abound with the values of fairness, justice – By Abdulaziz al Jahdhami – MUSCAT — As per the Royal Orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, Rapprochement and Human Harmony week was organised by the Sultan Qaboos Centre for Islamic Culture. The opening ceremony was presided over by Shaikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al Salmy, Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, at Al Bustan Palace Hotel yesterday.
Speaking on the occasion, Al Salmy said that the disagreement among cultures and religions do not reach the level of a world problem that requires conferences and seminars as it is the case with Muslims and Islam. “This is mainly attributed to the fact that Muslims constitute one fifth of the world population and the fact that many of them stick to their religious and cultural manifestations whether they are in their own countries or abroad. Some may think that these manifestations are against their traditions, values and laws to the extent that some may practise violence against some of them in the name of Islam,” he said.

Moreover, Muslims and Westerners have witnessed certain common cultural experiences, such as the culture in Andalusia, Sicily, Oman, Baghdad and others.
He added that both Westerners and Muslims are responsible for any crisis in their relations and should therefore join hands to overcome such crisis through rapprochement and concord.
The week is held in recognition of the fact that Islam and Arab Islamic culture and civilisation abound with the values of fairness, justice and constructive communication with other cultures and civilisations.
Speaking on the occasion, Habib bin Mohammed al Riyami, Secretary-General of the Sultan Qaboos Centre for Islamic Culture, said: “The Rapprochement and Human Harmony Week reflects His Majesty’s interest to serve the mutual understanding and rapprochement among different cultures and civilisations in the world. It also highlights the significant role of dialogue to promote peace and stability as well as present the Islamic values such as justice, tolerance and the constructive communication.”

The event came to achieve various objectives some of which are establishing the concept of human co-operation which is based on mutual respect and solidifying the fabric of cultural exchange among nations.
It also aims to enhance the cultural and religious affinity and mutual understanding among human beings of different cultures and religions. It also serves to facilitate communication among human cultures to achieve the affinity and emphasise the role of dialogue in supporting international peace and stability through raising the public awareness about related issues.

This outstanding event serves as a platform for a number of renowned Arab and international scholars, intellectual, researches and academics to exchange views and come out with visions, ideas and proposals that enhance human harmony based on the common human values and mutual interests. Various discussions were held focusing on the theoretical framework and the methods and means that can help achieve this rapprochement.

In fact, such occasions mark a great opportunity to review the Sultanate’s experience in the field of cultural dialogue and support of human co-existence and harmony through meetings, visits and activities. This event highlights the role of the Sultanate in supporting understanding among people.

About 10 sessions were held yesterday discussing several themes such as the experience of dialogue in the Islamic civilisation history with the world’s civilisations, environmental harmony issues and human harmony and media role in the convergence among cultures and civilisations.
The role of university chairs in promoting the objectives of convergence between cultures and nations was also highlighted. Moreover, special sessions discussed the various successful applied means to bring youths together in the dialogue of cultures and civilisations. Organising the Rapprochement and Human Harmony Week comes as participation by the Sultanate in the initiative of King Abdallah of Jordan, of making the first week of February every year as World Interfaith Harmony Week.