Time & Temperature in
|Call for building trust
Tuesday, 29 April, 2008, 02:55 AM Doha Time
Aisha al-Mannai makes a point at the press conference
By Anwar Elshamy
Interfaith dialogue should continue in spite of the obstacles and challenges ahead to avert a clash between religions, said the dean of the Shariah College at Qatar University, Aisha al-Mannai, yesterday.
Addressing a press conference yesterday at the newly-established Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue, al-Mannai said that the potential religious conflicts around the world made it necessary for followers of religions to be involved in interfaith dialogue.
“Let’s continue interfaith dialogue till the Judgment Day. We have no choice but to go ahead with such dialogues. If we failed to stop the clash between religions, at least we would be able to delay it. Even if the interfaith dialogue proved to be futile on the practical level, it would not harm any of those involved in the process,” al-Mannai said.
Asked about the purpose of holding such annual interfaith dialogue forums by Muslims though the West kept attacking Islam’s symbols and insulting the honour of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during the past few years, al-Mannai said that the results of interfaith dialogue would take time to appear.
“Nobody can stop those who attack Islam or satirise our Prophet in the West. We do not have a magic stick to stop such attacks. I think that we should not bother much about such offending remarks or movies made against Islam the Prophet,” she said.
To a question on the participation of the Jewish rabbis, she said that the annual visits of the participating Jewish rabbis have contributed to the change of their conception on Muslims.
“I remember that the Jewish rabbis who participated for the first time in interfaith dialogue were very scared and even asked for tightening security measure. They thought they were coming to a country of terrorists. We do not expect them to hand over Palestine to us after inviting them to such meetings. The important thing is that their perceptions have changed with their annual participation in the Doha Interfaith Dialogue,” she explained.
The 6th Doha Interfaith Dialogue Conference, which will be held in Doha on May 13-14, will bring together prominent religious leaders from the three monotheistic religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
The conference would features issues like euthanasia, human trafficking, desecration of religious symbols and peaceful values in the religions.
Call for building trustPublished: Wednesday, 14 May, 2008, 01:34 AM Doha Time
Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs HE Faisal bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud (third from right) delivering the opening address at the 6th Doha Conference of Inter-faith Dialogue yesterday. Also seen (from left) are Aisha al-Mannai, Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayyib, Cardinal Jean-Louis Turan , Rabbie Rene Gautman and Ibrahim Salih al-Naimi
By Ramesh Mathew
SPEAKERS attending the 6th Doha Conference of Inter-faith Dialogue in Doha yesterday called for strengthening mutual trust and confidence among people of different faiths by discovering more common areas where they could meet.
The two-day conference which got under way the Sheraton yesterday is being held under the aegis of Doha International Center for Inter-faith Dialogue. Religious heads of Muslims, Christians and Jewish faiths from more than 30 countries are taking part.
Opening the conference, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs HE Faisal bin Abdulla al-Mahmoud called upon the participants to strengthen co-operation and thus help common people prevent prejudices and misconceptions about each other.
He said that meaningful dialogues held at such conferences could produce better results in the long run and help improve understanding among different faiths.
A view of the gathering at the opening of the conference. Pictures: Noushad Thekkayil
The minister said experiences had proved that dialogue was the most effective weapon to improve trust among people of different faiths. “However, religious leaders are duty-bound to carry this message down to man on the streets and thus help the mankind spread the universal message of peace and brotherhood.”
Al-Mahmoud promised that Qatar would continue to usher in efforts that it felt would improve relations between people of different faiths in coming years.
Lauding the participants for responding to Qatar’s invitation, the minister said their presence demonstrated the desire to attain global peace.
Later, president of Pontifical Council for inter-religious dialogues from The Vatican Cardinal Jean-Louis Turan asserted that “no religion could make a war, but as history teaches, its followers sometimes do make war.”
The Vatican representative said: “I am particularly grateful for the presence in our midst of members of the Muslim faith and I express my appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, both at the local and international level,” he said. The Cardinal assured that the church wanted to continue building bridges of friendship with the followers of all religions in order to seek the true good of every person and of society as a whole.
Recalling his participation at the 2nd edition of the Doha conference four years ago, Cardinal Turan lauded the efforts being jointly made by the Faculty of Shari’ah and Gulf Centre for Studies and the Qatar ministry of foreign affairs in ensuring its continuity in the same vigour.
The Cardinal said that he was only too happy to be the representative of the Pope Benedict XVI for inter-religious dialogues.
Remembering the roles played by him in preserving a lot of valuable Arabic and Islamic manuscripts at the Pontifical Vatican Library and also at the Secret Archives of the Holy See, the Cardinal said he felt honoured while attending the Doha conference in 2004.
The Pontifical representative attributed the absence of the Pope from last year’s conference to some “communication and technical problems”.
His non-participation should not give any cause for anxiety that the engagement of the Catholic Church in inter-religious dialogues was any less, said the Cardinal.
Representing the Jewish faith, Rabbie Rene Gautman of France said the highest position in the love of people must be taken by the love of man and it must extend to all human beings, despite all differences in opinion.
“There is no doubt that repairing of the world in its many ramifications is a precondition and vital need for the realisation of our spiritual vocation. Each country that respects itself doesn’t and can’t be satisfied with its narrow boundaries and limited domains. Rather each nation must bring all that is good and beautiful, that is helpful and glorious to its national, cultural and spiritual treasure. And each must contribute to its own blessings to the heritage of humanity as a whole,” he said.
President of Doha International Center for Inter-faith dialogue Ibrahim Salih al-Naimi and Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayyib (Egypt) also spoke.
Aisha Yousef al-Mannai, Dean of College of Shari’ah at Qatar University, was the moderator.
The Peninsula - Qatar coverage/
Conference of Interfaith Dialogue opens
Web posted at: 5/14/2008 2:8:56
Source ::: The Peninsula
(From left) Dr Aisha Al Mannai, Prof. Ahmed Mohamed Al Tayyib, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, H E Faisal bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, Rabbi Rene Gautman and Prof Ibrahim Salih Al Naimi at the opening session of the Sixth Doha Interfaith Dialogue yesterday.
doha • The sixth Doha Conference of Interfaith Dialogue opened here yesterday on an optimistic note with prominent speakers saying that this annual event has started delivering tangible results.
The conference, titled "Religious values: Perspective on peace and respect for life," is being organised jointly by the Qatar University, the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Opening the conference at the Doha Sheraton, H E Faisal bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, said, "We all see from the theme of this conference and its discussions a clear evidence of the success it achieved in terms of interfaith dialogue as well as the goals we wanted to achieve through the previous conferences. In addition to this, there is the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue, which is a real achievement of the previous recommendations."
He said that the previous conferences focussed on the importance of interfaith dialogue and it was important to proceed to more practical issues, which are being discussed in the current conference.
A section of the audience at the conference. (ABDUL BASIT
"This indicates clearly that scholars from various faiths have achieved more proximity in their thoughts. The dialogue has started delivering its fruits by securing cooperation among the religions to play a bigger role for the best interests of mankind," he said.
Al Mahmoud further pointed out that the topic of the conference is a clear evidence of this realization. "In this era, we hear a lot about human rights and freedom, such as the freedom of expression, freedom of choice and religious freedom. But it seems people have forgotten one of the most important human rights- the right to life. The other rights have no meaning without this," he said.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter religious Dialogue (Vatican City), said, "I noted with satisfaction that the Qatari people are courageous and maintain their promises. For example, they promised to widen the conference to include Jews and to create an international structure for dialogue- both promises have been maintained."
He said he was glad to note the participation of the Catholic Church and of the Holy See in this initiative. "The absence of the Holy See from the fifth conference, last year, was due to communication and technical problems and should not give any cause for anxiety that the engagement of the Catholic Church in inter-religious dialogue is any less."
"As religious leaders let us promote a sound pedagogy of peace, which is taught in the family, in the mosques, in the synagogues, in the churches, in our schools, in our universities. Religions do not make war, unfortunately- as history teaches us-their followers sometimes make war," said Tauran.
Rabbi Rene Gautman, Jewish scholar from France and Professor Ahmed Mohamed Al Tayyib, Muslim scholar from Egypt, also addressed the opening session. "Our faiths are different. Judaism is not Christianity, Christianity is not Islam, the Abrahamic monotheisms are different from eastern mysticism on the one hand, and from scientific humanism on the other. Yet when we bring our respective heritages of wisdom to public domain, we have no need to wish to convert others. Instead we are tacitly saying, if this speaks to you, then please take it as our gift. Indeed it is yours already for wisdom belongs to us all," said Gautman.
Dr Aisha Al Mannai, Dean of the faculty of Islamic Shariah at Qatar University, chaired the session.
Qatar Info - Coverage /
Doha 6th Conference for Dialogue between Religions kicks off
The 6th Conference for Dialogue between Religions kicked off on Tuesday 13 May 2008 with prominent intellectuals, scholars, media men and followers of the heavenly religions participating.
The conference was inaugurated by the Minister of Awqaf (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs H E Faysal bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, who delivered an inaugural speech in which he stressed that the Doha-based conferences on inter-faith dialogue have become an oasis of understanding, tolerance and co-existence and constructive talk.
Under the title 'Religious Values: Between Peacefulness and Respect of Life', the conference will focus on three major topics, foremost, the peacefulness among the three religions.
The second topic tackles the value of life in accordance with religions including issues such as committing suicide, abortion, human trafficking, human organs trafficking, clinical death and euthanasia (mercy killing) and insulting religious symbols, all of which are mainly considered medical issues of a religious dimension.
The third topic deals with violence, self-defence, media and violence in addition to many questions over the bombings taking place in Palestine and Afghanistan and whether it was a type of violence or self-defence according to the viewpoint of religions and scholars.
The conference, organized by Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and Qatar University, hosts some 200 dignitaries from Islam, Christianity and Judaism followers as well as local research centres, the Education City and others.
On the sidelines of the conference, Chairman of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage H E Sheikh Meshaal bin Jassem bin Mohammad Al Thani is to open on Wednesday 14 May the Qatar International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue at Khalifa City. Participants at the two-day Doha 6th Interfaith Dialogue Conference will attend the dialogue.
Qatar International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue was established as a result of Doha fifth Interfaith Dialogue Conference to achieve dialogue between religions and stress the joint spiritual aspects and their effect in achieving peaceful co-existence among the three divine religions followers.
The Centre is a Qatari world-class organization, which aims to pioneer in the charitable and humanitarian field by organizing and supporting charitable and humanitarian activities in Qatar to reach the highest level of partnership with donors and local and international organizations.
Qatar International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue also aims at achieving constructive dialogue between religions followers to best understand religious principles in order to utilize them in serving humanity on the basis of mutual respect, recognition of differences and cooperation with concerned people and institutions.
Qatar International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue maintains neutralism by observing justice, equality in dialogue, cooperation and respect of others rights in order to encourage dialogue and exchange of opinions and viewpoints.