Under the title ‘Efforts of Orientalists in Preserving Heritage as an Expression of Cultural Communication’, the Muslim Council of Elders organized a seminar at the 2023 International Publishing and Book Fair in Rabat. The seminar was delivered by Dr. Ahmed Shoukry Binbayn, the Director of the Royal Library in Morocco.
At the beginning of the seminar, Dr. Binbayn expressed his gratitude to the Muslim Council of Elders, under the Chairmanship of His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar for their participation in the International Publishing and Book Fair in Rabat. He praised the council’s efforts in promoting and enhancing the values of dialogue, coexistence, tolerance and peace.
During the seminar, which was attended by Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, and moderated by Dr. Samir Boudinar, Executive Director of Al-Hokama Center for Peace and Research, Dr. Binbayn discussed various aspects of Orientalist work, including academic, research, linguistics, and other historical aspects. He emphasized the importance of using scientific and critical methods in studying heritage and the need for communication and collaboration between researchers and Orientalists in order to achieve a higher level of accuracy and comprehensiveness in interpretation and documentation.
Meanwhile, Dr. Binbayn criticized the lack of awareness among some teachers and students about the work of Orientalists who have long been working on preserving heritage throughout history. He pointed out that some students and teachers have preconceived notions about certain Orientalists, which poses a significant challenge in understanding and appreciating the efforts of others.
The Director of the Royal Library in Morocco also highlighted the existence of fair and sympathetic Orientalists towards Islam, such as ‘Gustav Jahn’ who translated the book ‘Sibawayh’ into the German language due to his expertise and deep knowledge of grammar and morphology. He also noted other Orientalists who embraced Islam and defended it, as well as others who didn’t convert to Islam but defended it nonetheless.
In conclusion, Dr. Binbayn appealed to younger generation to be vigilant and not succumb to extremists. He encouraged them to embody the teachings of tolerant Islam, which call for accepting and respecting others, and to promote the values of human fraternity among all people.
Dr. Samir Boudinar, the Executive Director of Al-Hokama Center for Peace and Research, affirmed the importance of peaceful cultural communication, while emphasizing the efforts of Orientalists in preserving heritage. He explained that Arab and Islamic heritage is rich and vast and has required continuous efforts by successive generations of scholars throughout history.
The seminar witnessed a significant attendance of visitors to the fair who were also keen to visit the Council’s stand to explore publications by ‘Dar Al Hokama Publishing’, which aims to correct misconceptions and promote the values of dialogue, tolerance, and coexistence.
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.