The Muslim Council of Elders’ stand at the International Publishing and Book Fair in the Moroccan capital Rabat has held a seminar titled ‘’Religious Pluralism, Identities, and the Paths to Peace’ by Dr. Said Kafaiti, Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fez and Dr. Karima Norah Al-Issaoui, Professor of the History of Religions and Dialogue of Civilizations at the Faculty of Theology at Abdelmalek Essaadi University in Tetouan.
At the seminar’s beginning, Dr. Karima Norah Al-Issaoui discussed the history of the relationship between Islam and the West. She pointed out that this relationship has not always been good, as misunderstandings and religious conflicts have prevailed over the past centuries. She also highlighted the presence of misconceptions and negative attitudes towards Islam in the West, which affect the integration of Muslims in those countries and increase identity tensions. She also called for promoting mutual dialogue and cultural understanding between different cultures and working towards overcoming religious differences and focusing on common values.
For his part, Dr. Said Kafaiti shed light on important data regarding religious pluralism and identities in European countries. He pointed out that the challenges related to pluralism are not limited to the increase in the number of immigrants and refugees, but also involve unprecedented religious and cultural diversity in those countries in recent decades.
Professor Kafaiti also emphasized the importance of the Document on Human Fraternity which was co-signed by His Eminence Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, and His Holiness Pope Francis, Pontiff of the Catholic Church, in Abu Dhabi in 2019. He explained that the document promotes the language of dialogue among followers of religions and contributes to enhancing tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
Dr. Kafaiti called on youth and new media outlets to widely disseminate the principles of the document to combat misunderstandings of religious texts and electronic fatwas that reflect misconceptions, impede dialogue, and reject differences. He stressed the need to include a definition of religions and enhance the values of dialogue and tolerance in educational curricula, with a focus on religious and human commonalities.
In conclusion, the interventions and discussions raised important issues about religious and identity pluralism in the West. The participants emphasized the necessity of working towards enhancing communication and mutual understanding between cultures and religions, and building bridges of dialogue and cooperation to achieve peaceful coexistence in diverse societies.
The Muslim Council of Elders’ stand at the International Publishing and Book Fair in Rabat is set to host several seminars and activities aimed at rectifying misconceptions, promoting dialogue and tolerance, and building bridges of communication and coexistence. These efforts align with the Council’s message, under the Chairmanship of His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, which aims to enhance peace in Muslim and non-Muslim societies.