The first World Parliament of Religions, held in 1893 in Chicago, United States, was an important event. It was the time when the Western world was riding the wave of technological and industrial progress.
The development torchbearers in the West realized that the struggle for pole position in the military and economic sector would not serve the cause of their nation’s progress in the future. They should strive to lay the foundations for a visionary, multicultural and multi-ethnic society.
As the pages of history turned, this role had been taken over by the United Arab Emirates. Today, they are at the forefront of this inclusive thought process. The importance of this topic is understood by the fact that even at a time when crises are hitting the world, the Abu Dhabi-based Forum for the Promotion of Peace in Muslim Societies has continued its mission of shining a light on the light. hope.
For many years, the Forum, which is chaired by the President of the Fatwa Council of the United Arab Emirates, Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah (under the aegis of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation) , has been one of the most important voices in the Muslim world, advocating for coexistence both within Muslim nations and across the world.
From the revolutionary declaration of Marrakech held in Morocco in 2016 to the call for the rights of religious minorities to the Alliance of Values in 2018, then to the charter of the New Alliance of Virtue between the Abrahamic religions in 2019.
The 2021 annual Peace Forum conference brought together leaders, academics, thinkers of different faiths from around the world to discuss the principles of peacebuilding, advocacy and conflict resolution.
At the opening of the 8th Forum Assembly at Al-Wasl Plaza at Expo 2020 Dubai, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, highlighted the UAE’s leadership efforts to promote the values of peaceful coexistence among all nations and peoples of the globe.
The theme of the Forum Assembly in 2021 is “Inclusive Citizenship”, which is a series of deliberations on the topic based on the principles of the Quran and Hadiths.
The point is, universality is inextricably linked with Quranic thought. Those who adopt the Quranic method of thinking will begin to think on a global level. His individuality will be closely linked to the human fraternity as a whole. No matter where he is physically, he becomes a citizen of the universe in terms of thought. In this regard, Islam or the Qur’an can fully be seen as playing a supporting role in promoting the idea of global citizenship.
When we talk about citizenship, it is important to articulate a citizenship based on duty. There was a time when every member of society was aware of their duties, but this slowly turned into a rights-based society. From a donor member of the company, they became a pay member of the company.
The first scholars devoted their entire lives to studying scriptures and literature in order to understand them and then pass them on. In today’s age of social media, the Internet allows anyone to share information as they please. While this change has created previously unknown opportunities, it comes with challenges, which need to be addressed appropriately.
Being a part of the conference, it is inspiring to see how a prominent Islamic scholar like Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah is taking the lead in addressing challenges arising from religious misunderstanding. Religious leaders have an important vanguard role, as exemplified by the Abu Dhabi-based Peace Forum.
Religion is not a strange idea in human affairs, and it is no less important than other matters. Leaders should approach religion the same way they approach economics and politics: it has a huge impact on the behavior of people and government. In addition to political and economic factors, religion has a vital impact on determining behavior, sometimes leading to more extreme consequences.
When faith, social identity, ethnicity or nationality all come together, it creates a foreign policy objective that is much more important. Religious extremism, which has reached frightening proportions in recent decades, can serve as a catalyst for the world to tackle religious extremism on an ideological level.
Peace is the existential foundation of a society. For a society as diverse as the United Arab Emirates, harmony is of paramount importance to ensure that opportunities flourish and development potential is actualized. These ecumenical initiatives should not only be applauded, but the words raised here should be amplified further as they would be crucial in fostering cooperation, fellowship and inspiration for a peaceful future for all.
Raamish Siddiqui is a lawyer, author and Islamic thinker. Twitter: @raamishs