Azerbaijan, Baku, December 19 / Trend , U.Sadikhova /
Trend Middle East desk's interview with the director of the Jordanian Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies,
Hasan Abu Nimah.
Q: Some officials in
Vatican say they do not know with which Muslim countries to hold dialogue, because of differences within the Muslim world. In Your opinion, is there inter-Islam split, as Vatican confirms it as an obstacle to inter-religious dialogue?
A: I do not think that the unity of the Islamic world is the condition for dialogue between Muslims and Christians. Vatican does not represent the whole Christian world, which also differs with disunity. People's opinions can not be similiar on all issues. If there are not disagreements in the dialogue, there will be no need for it. The basic idea of dialogue is to identify differences.
Even the Quran states in this regard:
"On people! Verily, We created you from male and female and made you nations and tribes that you may know each another, and the most revered among you before Allah are the most pious. Verily, Allah - Who Knows" [Sura Al-Room 13th verse].
Throughout the human history, permanent dialogue has been conducted between Muslims, Christians and Jews. Dialogue can not be planned or programmed, it is a natural phenomenon of human nature.
Q: Recently the radical ideas of Europe with regards to Muslims have increased, an example can be the problem of minarets in Switzerland, the question of headscarf in France, protests against the construction of a mosque in London. In Your opinion, does this result from improper behavior of Muslims living in Western countries?
Muslims who live in Europe do not behave in such a way causing such reaction. The behavior of Muslims in Europe or other countries do not differ from the behavior of representatives of other religions, we are humans, but not angels, and can make mistakes. However, I do not believe that Muslims have made such actions causing to launch such a negative campaign. The fact that the spread of violence in the world is wrongly linked with Muslims. There are forces which are spreading anti-Muslim sentiments, hanging such labels as " terrorism" and "violence" against Muslims, as well as Arab and Islamic culture. If a person comes into a different culture, it does not mean that he/she should move away from own. International law gives an opportunity of free choice of traditions and culture. If a Muslim lives in Europe, and at the same time wants to preserve his/her culture and traditions, it is a natural case. However, non-recognition of these traditions and culture is unacceptable from religious or moral point of view.
Q: How do You see the future of Islam in Western society?
A: I believe that most of the problems of Islam and Muslims in the West are political rather than cultural and religious. If the problems are resolved in the Middle East, if the justice is restored for the Palestinian people and an end is put to the Israeli occupation, if the situation in the region is stable, there will be no differences between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Q: What is the role of Muslims in stabilizing situation in region?
Q: I believe that the tensions in the region can be eliminated if they [Muslim countries] act in a coordinated way, require compliance with international law and UN resolutions, as well as ending the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and demand to stop the Israeli occupation of Arab territories and the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Q: Is it possible to put an end to radicalism by spreading the ideas of moderate Islam - Vasatiyya?
A: Perhaps some of radicalism cases will never end. However, disseminating ideas of enlightenment, justice and equality in society will weaken it. Radicalism can be eliminated by solving the problems that raises it.
The question is not to make a specific decision that Vasatiyya is better than radicalism, but how to fully understand the problem [radicalism]. It needs to find out what brought people to radicalism, for example people's oppression, ignorance, poverty, economic decline. Because one negative factor leads to another, like the chain. It needs to understand the causes of radicalism.
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