Message to the participants in the Dialogue Amongst Civilizations Conference
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Magnificent
Ladies & Gentlemen: the representatives of different religions and cultures, the participants in the conference “Dialogue amongst Civilizations in the service of humanity”, held in our beloved country Bahrain:
Cordial greetings to you and to your decent, tolerant and peaceful people , and hope you have a pleasant stay in Bahrain.
God Almighty says in the holy Qur’an:
“Allâh does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allâh loves those who deal with equity.”(Chapter 60, verse 8)
“And We have not sent thee except as a mercy unto the Worlds.”(Chapter 21, verse 107)
“Verily Allah commandeth justice and well-doing and giving to kindred; and He prohibiteth lewdness and wickedness and oppression; He exhorteth you that haply ye may be admonished.”(Chapter 16, verse 90)
“(O, Mohammad) Invite (mankind) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided.”( Chapter 16 verse 125 )
“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allâh is that who is most pious. Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”( Chapter 49 verse 13)
“We have honored the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of Our Creation.” (Chapter 15 verse 70 ).
The Messenger of Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him and upon his family):
“I was sent with the religion of tolerance.”
e also said: “I was sent to reinforce the good manners”.
Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said:
“ ….People are two types: either a brother to you in religion, or a match to you in creation.”
These are the great values of Islam in dealing with all peace-loving people, i.e. those who do not pursue aggressive or war-like approach in life.
Indeed, it is a religion of righteousness and equity for all people, a religion of mercy, a religion of justice and charity, a religion propagated through wisdom, prudence and peaceful dialogue, a religion that enhances cohabitance and co-existence , a religion of piety, and human dignity.
Islam came to propagates morality, good manners and virtues in human societies, and to spread justice, kindness, and peace throughout the world.
In the light of the above Islamic guidelines, we welcome you in Bahrain, and we express our full support to the efforts to activate a dialogue among religions and civilizations, in as much as it contributes in spreading love, tolerance and peaceful coexistence amongst all human beings, and in rejecting hatred, discrimination, religious and sectarian persecution.
In this regard, you may note that all of us in this country, the Muslims both Shiites & , Sunnis , Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and others live together in peace and harmony, and with mutual understanding and respect. The relationship of the common people is not marred by hatred or conflict.
In contrast, however, the political power in Bahrain has a different approach that is not consistent with such national harmony and understanding: they have used various repressive measures towards the peaceful Opposition movement which has been asking for concrete improvement to the existing corrupt and oppressive political system. The Government is making no attempt to improve on its bad human rights records and insists on their absolute dominance on power and wealth. Furthermore, they have targeted religion, creed and holy places as repressive tools especially against the Shiites who constitute the major opposition group to the Government. In the context of tightening the siege on religious freedom, they have demolished Shiite mosques, desecrated their shrines, and imprisoned or displaced Shiite Scholars and suspended the activities of the Muslim Scholars’ Council, being the largest religious institution for the Shiite community, besides the flagrant discrimination in employment and other citizenship rights and benefits..
Dialogue between religions and civilizations, and organizing conferences for this purpose is desirable and important. However, for dialogue on such international level to be meaningful and credible, the host should first and foremost introduce a serious dialogue on the local level to pave the way for concrete understanding that satisfiesand achieves the legitimate demands of the citizens of the country.
Also, internal dialogue must be preceded by serious measures to be taken by the Government to enforce harmony andmutual respect amongst followers of the various religions and creeds in the country, and after ensuring respect for and recognition of the religious rights of all citizens and allowing religious freedom. Dialogue should not come after a series of religious and sectarian violations that were documented by the international media and by international and local reports, first and foremost of which is the “Bassiouni report” which was called for by the government itself!!
Needless to say, convening international inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is meaningless and not credible in the absence of harmony and justice at the local level. On the contrary, such a public relations campaign is intended to polish the image of the regime that denies its people their freedom and coerces respectable scholarly and cultural personalities to give false testimony at international forums.
We therefore hope that participants in such forums and conferences recognize such contradictions and express their open support for righteousness and for the legitimate rights of the people everywhere, regardless of their religion or creed, including the people of Bahrain.
Muslim Scholars’ Council
5 Rajab 1433 AH
May 5, 2014 AD