Exclusive: by Nahed Al Husaini, VT Damascus
I have often contemplated writing about the controversial issues of the rendezvous of religions, after focusing attention to the ongoing debate in the local and international forums, namely the dialogue of religions.
I hereby affirm that every human being has his own doctrine, each religion has its own props, and every nation has its own history and culture. It is not easy to persuade others to adopt your philosophy. Perhaps, it is an unattainable desire.
Is this dialogue meant to be between religions, cultures and civilizations? Or is it a dialogue between religious and cultural guardians, and those who seek refuge in the deep past of the civilization, in other words, is it between the disciples and the guardians, excluding those believers who do not aspire to have an intermediary with the creator?
Here, I have to elaborate on the intricacies originated since the beginning of creation, focusing on faith, work and creativity, and then, generating the discrepancy for the development of human mind, which is not restricted to a religion, cultural, economy, politics, science, or creativity.
We are the sons of mankind, born from the families of the earth, thus, become followers due to our religion, belief or philosophy. We have been found on a land that bears a name, and we have branded it with our names after its division:
Syrians, Chinese, Russians, Americans, and Africans, and endowed it with our dogmas as Buddhist, Hindu, Jews, Christians, Muslims, existentialists, and Marxists. It is we who inflicted injustice on earth, and pressured religiously, economically, politically and militarily to obtain concessions.
Each dialogue between two parties has a loser and a winner, what is the meaning of dialogue, dialogue of civilizations or cultures? Any dialogue must have a conclusion. Have the Islamic guardians been convinced that Jesus was not crucified on the cross? Have the Christians upheld the notion that Jesus was a prophet and was raised to heaven?
Thus, we ceased to identify the meaning of dialogue? It is better to say the rendezvous of religions, because this nomination indicates the state of friendliness or ingratiation, the state of an accurate faith, and not a state of subservience. How can we have a debate without a meeting, and flee quickly without evaluating our dialogue, and later, we have religious, sectarian, and ethnic conflicts to commence the dialogue anew.
By that time, each interlocutor entrenched himself and became ready to invade the walls of others by preaching to his disciples and inspiring them to action.
The world is full of dialogue, and the demands are high more than ever behind the closed doors. The outcome of the discussions reveal the feverish competition to reap the benefits, and the devotees continue to complain about the magnitude of ignorance. The spreading gossip is being realized as realistic initiatives, even strategic, which primarily aim at ameliorating the sense of frustration and despair.
How can we speed our pace with times, reconcile the nations, and unite religions via thorough divine works. How do we nourish off course minds with science and knowledge, which is no longer a daily duty, but a target to save the people of the earth as a whole?
The dialogues between religious, economic and political leaders are uneven contests, governed by conflicts, purporting to distract attention, and are sponsored by the religious guardians whose ultimate goal is to make people wait, hope, dream, and practice habitual worshiping, and to debate politics without knowing the rules of its games, leading us to a state of terrifying dependency.
Are we captives of by this state at present, and unable to break free? I often had a debate with religious guardians, especially those within the Holy Trinity. Everyone agrees that the source of faith and religion is one, but the laws are different. I told them since you believe in this principle why do you label the person who takes up a new religion as an apostate?
We all descend from the nation of Abraham, who is the father of the prophets and messengers; the source is one, and the holy book says the differences between nations is a mercy, it does not hurt; it emphasizes the need for a rendezvous that makes the dialogue more realistic and debatable.
I ask you about the conflict that produces dialogue, not a solution, is it between man and God, or between scientific and cultural interlocutors, or is it within the human soul, or is it in abandoning the truth of the faith that made this dialogue attach to the religious revolution, and seek imaginary formulas, created by man with his brothers to take away or diminish his faith.
The guardians continue to put forth spiritual meals and sustenance, while the mind’s tissues still unable to absorb them, without paying attention to the fact that the people’s culture expanded to search for what lies behind the Seven Heavens.
We are in societies that have a rare science, attracted by dark elements that are rampant in our souls, and duped by the deceitful and misguided fantasies of our guardians, and between this and that our humanity fades away, its light brightens, then soon extinguishes to be replaced by darkness and turbulence.
If there is conflict, it is a struggle for awareness against the sub-consciousness, and this involves a dangerous tragedy, through the inability to make a victory that stems from one of the laws. The awareness makes the dialogue reaches rapprochement and a consensus at the rendezvous; like abolishing the language of blasphemy, and offensive texts in religions, including the subject of jihad, hell and paradise, preaching and persecution of disciples. The interlocutors normally engage in everything, except progress and modernity in what they debate.
The revival of the symbolism and practice of tolerance, whose concept has largely been eroded by the resurgence, stemming from the generations that can be united in the face of any current, is being prohibited from transferring from the logic of violence, extremism, and religious bigotry, as being supervised by the guardians and their intelligence on our living planet, to the logic of reconciliation, building, and tolerance.
Here I ask how far away is Mecca from the Vatican, Azhar from Jerusalem, and Qum from Damascus and Baghdad. It is the place of encounter and conflict, love and hatred, tolerance and extremism. Here I call for a strong intervention in religious decision-making, forums and dialogues, because what happens now emanates a vacuum and everyone is lost in it, so that it will not be invaded by fanaticism and terrorism driven by religious and political motives.
The modern history gave birth to al-Qa’eda, Daasheh and al-Nasra terror organizations. It also witnessed the most horrific attacks on places of worship; churches, mosques and synagogues, where brutal mass killings, genocides and assassinations of fathers, mothers, children, and politician took place. Kings, presidents, warlords and guardians of religions must take the responsibility. Here, we stop to ask; what have they achieved through all these dialogues and conflicts? Where have they arrived?
And what they have offered humanity? The earthquake of religious violence, descending from the distant past, armed with the latest advancements of military science and technology, is still marching strongly under the umbrella of religious and political dialogue, so I wrote this in the wake of all this killing and destruction. The guardians of spirituality beware.
Nahed is VT Damascus Bureau Chief. She is a member of the American Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies (USA) and serves as Assistant Director of the Arab-American and Muslim Congress (Detroit, USA). She has a Diploma in English Literature from Damascus University (1987).
She’s also been a reporter for Turkish newspaper Aydinlik, Special Coordinator for Arab-Armenian International Law Assembly, Correspondent for Qatari News Agency, Al Ayam news Paper in Bahrain, Al Liwaa in Lebanon, Correspondent for Petra News Agency in Jordan, correspondent for the Associated Press in USA, and worked as a freelance journalist for CBS, ABS and CNN in Syria. She is fluent in both English and Arabic.