Doha Third Conference For
of His Highness
Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani,
Amir of the
State of Qatar
29 – 30 June 2005
In the Name of God,
The Most Compassionate, The
I would like
to welcome you to the Third Conference on the Dialogue of
Religions which has become an annual occasion to which we
all look forward to deepen dialogue and communication among
their followers for a mutual understanding that would
realize the best results to the benefit of our peoples,
nations and all mankind, if possible.
I hope that
this year’s deliberations would come out of the domain of
generalities into an in-depth discussion of detailed central
issues. The goal of this dialogue has always been to make
the knowledge of each side of the other deeper and their
relation be based on reciprocal respect.
objective contemplation leads us to the conviction that it
is feasible to deal with the topics related to the shared
temporal interests which concern all sides. At the same
time, whenever we deal with matters related to beliefs and
conviction peculiarities, we have to abide by the sublime
faiths that enjoin respect of the beliefs of others so as
not to end up into futile argument that does not solve any
dispute or settle any conflict.
required to observe certain obligations determined by the
Almighty God and hence we cannot but abide by them. We are
committed to seek acquaintance among nations and are to
follow wisdom and good words and decent argument. We are to
avoid grossness in address, and are not to abuse others
beliefs. We are enjoined to be gracious to the believers in
other religions and to treat them well and cooperate with
them and not depreciate the positive achievements they make
in the different fields of life since God Almighty has made
human beings inheritors of the earth to exploit it and
establish justice on it as a joint responsibility of
followers of all religions.
There is no
doubt that any dialogue of a religious nature is sensitive
in a special sense. It is known that an atmosphere of
caution has prevailed for a long time between Muslims and
others, some traces of which are still present until now,
which appear for instance in some publications of one party
or the other. Therefore, one of the main obstacles that has
to be surpassed so that our dialogue could be fruitful is a
psychological obstacle which is directly related to the
cultural legacy of long epochs. This issue deserves all
attention on our part because any serious dialogue must see
reality as it is before it looks into what it ought to be.
In other words, we have to start our dialogue from reality
so as to be able to influence it.
point, we note that some studies and researches concerned
with our subject ignore that the Islamic phenomenon has an
important cultural dimension that demonstrates, in some of
its aspects, a rejection of the hegemony of the rich North,
which is generally represented by the West, and the
marginalization suffered by the Muslim peoples, who are
proud of their references and authentic cultural symbols.
Perhaps the orientalist logic which was based on
highlighting the contradictions between the East and the
West to the extent that it neared at times the verge of
racial and fanatical thinking against all that is not
Western does reflect those attitudes that need to be
That is why,
through the rounds of this dialogue, we have to carry out a
critical revision of the Arab Islamic history on the basis
of its being a logical and natural continuation of processes
of political, economic and social change leading to natural
and expected associations, and not to interpret the modern
Islamic phenomenon as a mere conservative backward reaction
against change and modernization.
The start now
must be based on an earnest desire to re-establish
communication with the civilizational and cultural heritage
of the other so as to form a joint human system free of
aggressiveness. There must be conviction in the autonomy of
cultures, self-respect and difference of basic references,
without discrediting the other or excluding him from the
general picture of humanity. Such a start can be established
on the common denominators derived from the civilizational
environment of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, which were
intertwined and intermingled through time. That is why we
think that the dialogue between religions is apt to
positively reflect on the dialogue between civilizations.
tracks can be set for work to support the dialogue in the
short and medium terms.
track is the promotion of knowledge exchange between Islam,
Christianity and Judaism, where the translation of the basic
references into Arabic and foreign languages is of great
importance. In this context, some measures of a practical
nature can be taken such as establishing joint institutions
to carry out this task.
track is to concentrate in the dialogue on the social and
cultural issues to achieve the rapprochement and cooperation
which we desire. It may be appropriate in this respect to
bring up the role of women in society in a serious attempt
to understand the ethics of the Muslim societies on which
ready-made judgments are often made on the basis of prior
positions or because of lack of knowledge. It is also
possible to look into the relation between religion and
The third and
last track is to look into finding ways of joint cooperation
in solving the chronic conflicts for the sake of realizing
peace and accord.
I hope that we
succeed in our dialogue for what is good and beneficial.
Alykum wa Rahmatul Allahi wa Barakatu.