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Time & Temperature

>> 170 scholars to attend interfaith dialogue >>        H.E. Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud opened Tuesday morning the 7th Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue, which kicked off this year under the slogan" Human Solidarity".       
Gulf Times - It's time to build trust: Slovenian Muslim
By Ramesh Mathew
The bridge to narrow the gap between three different faiths has already been built, and now it is time to build trust,” said Hamdija Blekic, head of public relations at Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue (Dimid).
Blekic, who has been in Doha for close to three years now, is viewed by most visiting delegates attending the 7th Doha Interfaith Conference as the “meeting” point between the faiths.
A Muslim from Slovenia, formerly part of now-defunct Yugoslavia and the director of Centre for Inter-civilization Understanding, Blekic spares no words while insisting that “no one is born bad and it is the circumstances in life that makes one bad or good later in life.”
Widely seen as a liberal face by participants, the Dimid official said in seven years the Doha conference had helped representatives of three important faiths understand one another’s religious views much better than what it had been earlier and many of them had succeeded in establishing day-to-day contacts between themselves.
“This next-door-neighbour like relations among delegates would surely help representatives handle issues discussed at Doha dialogues more easily, effectively and informally,” said Blekic.
“I come from a country which was under Socialist rule for a long spell and many people there had earlier proclaimed that they had no faith in religious beliefs. However, once the State system collapsed and Slovenia became an independent nation, those who had openly campaigned against beliefs turned out to be believers all on a sudden,” said Blekic.
“This manifests that everyone at his heart is a believer and possesses elements of good somewhere in him,” he added.
The official feels the common meeting ground of every culture is religious beliefs and more thrust should hence be made on one’s faith so that its best results could be utilised for the good of the society.
The Slovenian Muslim recalled that it was the 9/11 incident and its aftermath that opened the doors for more inter-action between representatives of different faiths all over.
Qatar’s initiative to start a forum for dialogue, he felt, is widely seen as an important milestone in that direction. “It has made many others think of the necessity of holding meaningful and effective dialogues to reduce the religious divide in the world society,” pointed out Blekic.
The Dimid official is of the firm view that the more message from the dialogue reaches the man on the streets, the more optimistic and hopeful could be the organisers of the meeting. “We have enough reasons to feel that the message of the dialogue has reached a large number of youngsters and many of them now show interest in attending the sessions,” he said.
Blekic said the enormous goodwill Qatar had earned from all over with the regular holding of the inter-faith dialogue would open the eyes of other countries of the region to consider holding similar sessions in future.

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