Debate informed by esteemed panel of speakers from different faiths
In line with its mission to frame debates on Islam in a global context, the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) recently hosted a roundtable discussion on the theme of religious tolerance.
Co-sponsored by the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID), Religious Tolerance: A Catalyst for Peaceful Coexistence utilized case studies from across the Middle East to frame key talking points. Consideration was also given to Qatar’s unique contribution to promoting religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence. The first panel, beginning with DICID Chairman Dr. Ibrahim Al Nuaimi’s contribution, demonstrated the clear vision Qatar has to promote tolerance and co-existence at home and abroad, while Dr. Hamda Hassan Al-Sulaiti, Secretary General–Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, highlighted the functions of Qatari cultural institutions. Dr. Rabia Sabah Al-Kuwari, Professor of Media at Qatar University, discussed the role of media. Meanwhile, Sheikh Dr. Ali Al-Qaradaghi expanded on the role of religion in promoting tolerance and co-existence.
Religious Tolerance: A Catalyst for Peaceful Coexistence featured a second esteemed panel of speakers from different faiths and perspectives to highlight the challenges and opportunities for co-existence and tolerance. These included Dr. Maher Khudair, Judge at the Supreme Shari’a Court of Palestine; H.E. Mr. Omar Ahmed Karim al-Barazanchi, Ambassador of Iraq to Qatar; H.E. Dr. Ahmed Al Qadidi, former Ambassador of Tunisia to Qatar; and the Reverend Paul-Gordon Chandler, Senior Priest at the Anglican Church of Qatar. Proceedings concluded with a question and answer session and further contributions from the floor.
Speaking after the roundtable, Dr. Josef Waleed Meri, a historian of interfaith relations and the history of religion at CIS, who also chaired the second panel, said: “It was an honor to co-sponsor this event with DICID. For me this event was as much about student participation as it was about the expert speakers who contributed their time and expertise. By pooling our knowledge and resources together we developed a roundtable which framed debates in both a historical and contemporary context. The diversity of guest speakers also reflects a simple truth: you can’t discuss religious tolerance without seeking the perspectives of other religions. The same rule of thumb also applies to peaceful coexistence, which cannot happen without a deeper understanding of different faiths.”
Dr. Al-Naimi referred to DICID in his speech as an institution working for interreligious and intercultural dialogue to prepare future generations with deeply rooted inter-religious and moral values, especially since the world has become a single village, and the fate of its inhabitants is intertwined and interdependent. What happens in the east of the world resonates in the west and vice versa, crossing distances through the spread of information technology and the means of social communication through language.
Dr. Al-Naimi also stressed the need for dialogue to promote peace and a culture of peace. In this regard, DICID has adopted a strategy based on dialogue among followers of religions to better understand religious principles, values, and teachings; address the issues and problems of humanity, mutual respect, and recognition of the other—all of which reflect the vision of Qatar in its relations with other countries and peoples, and in the respectful treatment of all who live on its land as residents in practicing their religious rights with comfort.
The College of Islamic Studies regularly holds events to highlight its research activities and projects. For more information, please visit cis.hbku.edu.qa.