On Oct.20th.2007 the Dialogue Forum at Bibliotheca Alexandrina held a session for Dr. Mohamed Salim Al-Awa one of Muslim intellects, missioners, Professor in Law, and a lawyer at the Court of Cassation, not only that, he is one of the International Association of Muslim Jurists, the Chief of the Egyptian Association for Culture and Dialogue and the Arab Team for Islamic-Christian Dialogue.
This session was under the title of the Muslim and the Other, when The moderator of that session was an intellect and nice character Dr. Fathy Abou Ayanah, the Chief and lecturer of Geography at the School of Arts, Alexandria University; also he is the Chief of the Committee of the Foreign Relations that I’m belonging to at the Egyptian Association of the Friends of Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Mr. Awa started his speech with some remarks maybe it’s a little bit historical but it was essential, he referred to the other as a concept when he declared that the other could be the humanitarian ego itself, not just someone else Non-Muslim, he added that to be a Muslim you have to vow and accredit of Monotheism that there is only one God (Allah), in addition to accrediting all the prophets and religions of heaven including our prophet Mohamed (PBUH) and Islam as a the latest religion of heaven, but in that point I just want to ask Mr. Awa about the meaning of Islam, Is it just embracing the Monotheism that means “there is only one God (Allah)”? Because all the religions that came from heaven was just a mean to recognize God/Allah better. (Kindly know that time was tight for me to ask that philosophic question as a Muslim wants to know the truth.)
Mr. Awa referred also to our prophet Mohamed when he was ending his prayers by a well known speech indicating that “all the human being on the earth are brothers including the atheists”, because he accounted for the Monotheism always before the unity of fatherhood, in addition to that Mr. Awa mentioned that the Holy Koran classified the other into 2 divisions, the first one is the group atheists when the Koran urge us not to oppress them in order to be converted, at least not to expose Allah and prophet Mohamed of being insulted due to their ignorance, in addition to that Allah well judge their works on the day of judgment.
However the second division are people of the Testament (the Old and the New) I mean Jews and Christians, when the Holy Koran urged us also not to argue with them in that matters that belong to faith and religion, because they have the same monotheism and vice versa, not only that but also, not even expose to them, because it’s illicit due to the verse of Koran and the speeches (Hadith) of our prophet Mohamed, because all of us are the tissue of the society, and also Allah had given the base in Koran according to the holy verse that means that “Allah created everything on the earth for the human being and not for just cast or a specific religion”, therefore that was a very ancient rule for cohabitation before all the global contemporary agreements and conventions that belong to this issue.
Concerning the discussion, unfortunately there were some superficial questions or some questions out of topic or offensive, some interventions as the questions, however in my intervention I was in topic and found some points whereas Dr. Awa may be contradicted with himself, because in that matter of power he highlighted that only the military power is the only power that can give any nation the prestige, in my point of view I do agree with him in that until world war II, but after that the concept of power is completely changed, because as the whole world know very well in this time being that the power is the power of the scientific research and academic freedom, so we can explain why some countries or some nations are developed and some others still in phase of or underdevelopment level, we can refer to both Iran, Malaysia and Turkey as good examples of the Muslim World, because right now they are classified in the countries that give the both education and scientific research some sort of priorities and they achieved international market share in international economic rank accordingly, we can also highlight both Germany and Japan after the demolition of the world war II they relied on both development and scientific research so those both countries ranging among the best 3 states globally in economy and investment without military power.
Frankly speaking all the Muslim societies in need of free neutral objective media, strong civil society and to reform the existed pedagogic systems especially the higher education which I’d referred before in many articles I wrote.
The second point Dr. Awa when he declared his point of view concerning the dialogue with the Vatican, because he based his assumptions upon 2 situations belong to Benedict XVI “the existed Pope” the first his lecture at his university in Germany one year before that was against Islam and the second his declaration a while before about the truth of Koran and his suspicions of that the Koran is not descended from God/Allah upon prophet Mohamed and it’s just a compilation of human being.However, I answered that we may are not qualified enough for such a dialogue, or we are not the right counterpart due to many reasons I declared and wrote before, not only that Dr. Awa was agreeing on Camp David agreement in between Egypt and Israel when they were just enemies, but when that dialogue was studied and prepared well from our side as an equal counterpart, we would never restore our land “Sinai”.However the Vatican is not our enemy in this time being, so if we prepare and study well the existed situation in the right way, we can face all the criticism and will never be failed and we will achieve most of the targets that we need in both Inter-religious and Inter-Cultural Dialogue.“At least as Muslims we need to be unified to be strong and effective.
”Finally I proposed that we are in season of Pilgrimage to Mecca, so why the Authority of Pilgrimage in the holy land in Saudi Arabia not adopting an agenda for solving the problems of the Muslims globally e.g. Poverty, Joblessness, Education, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression, the numbers of pilgrims are not an obstacle at all, because if we arrange a global championship e.g. Olympic Games or World Cup for Football Soccer we will charge the spirit of people to adopt it as a national obligation, but what about Pilgrimage, if really arrange a conference or an agenda for the Pilgrimage each couple of years or each 4 years due to our point of view as intellects, it will really make a difference and it will be a good step to unify the efforts to reach the full integration and unity that we really need in this time being.
Human Rights Activist/Blogger
Representative ofEgyptian Association for Constitutional &Legal Human Rights (eaclhr)
A member in the family of the external affairs At Egyptian Association of the Friends of Bibliotheca Alexandrina