UAE sets shining model for originality, openness and tolerance: Algerian official

  • 27 August 2015

The UAE, which has hosted the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies over the last two years, has "set a shining Arab model for blending originality with openness to other cultures and remained an active contributor to contemporary human civilisation by upholding the value of the moderate nation, based on principles of wisdom, rationalism, ethics and peaceful approach," a prominent Arab intellectual has said.

Speaking at a lecture hosted by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, ECSSR, on "International Relations and the Dialogue between Civilisations", Professor Mustapha Cherif, former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, said the issue of inter-cultural dialogue is important, though "complicated and thorny" as it features three topics in terms of history, geo-politics and thought.

''The dialogue between civilisations today is at the heart of the problem of international relations for the following reasons: first, after the end of the Cold War, the question of Western dominance and the search for a just international order emerged; second, civilisations today, Eastern or Western, need to talk, collaborate and cooperate to inspire a new common civilization; and third, ignorance is at the root of the problem therefore, connections need to be made for peaceful coexistence. There will be no international peace without lasting relationships, justice and a focus on law and equality,'' he told an elite crowd of diplomats, academia, intellectuals, researchers and media personnel.

''The dialogue between civilisations contributes to the prevention and resolution of conflicts, wars and crises. Credibility stems from self-criticism and a sense of responsibility to both understand the other and explain our own ambitions, especially in defending the rights of Muslims in the face of illegitimate and illegal attacks and interventions. By opening up, exercising due care, and making a contribution to overcoming the contradictions and weaknesses of Islamic societies, we may help to solve problems. The challenge lies in the need to achieve integration and harmony between the fixed and the variable, between unity and human pluralism, as well as in the necessity of innovation and the importance of avoiding self-isolation.'' ''Muslims appear to comprise the last resistance to the Western model in all fields. It is necessary for the West to recognise that dialogue, as a civilized method, was promoted thanks to Islam. Islam was the first to establish and promote dialogue to prove the truth, facilitate coexistence, and achieve established goals. Common understanding and dialogue among civilizations is a requirement of human nature, necessitated by the conditions and rapid changes of the contemporary world. This requires a search for common denominators that bring human beings together and build bridges of friendship, cooperation and understanding among nations and peoples.'' He noted that as schemes of Westernisation and hegemony over the Arab and Muslim peoples failed in the past, endeavours to abuse religions to realise political gains were also doomed. Religious extremism, he said, had not only impeded dialogue among civilisations, but also promoted the terms like ''conspiracy'', ''conflict of civilisation'', and ''globalisation of security'' and given rise to Islamophobia in the Western communities.

''There is no modernity of one dimension nor civilisation and progress of one dimension. Rather there is a need to wed human interaction with religious and cultural diversity,'' he added, emphasising that dialogue should produce change otherwise it is meaningless and pointless.

On the false image of Arabs and Muslims in the world, he stressed that it is their responsibility to correct that image by redressing self-inertia, establishing good governance and state of law, disseminating science and knowledge and upholding principles of openness, rationalism and peaceful approach.