LONDON: The world needs generations raised with an education that teaches them how to think, promotes accepting and respecting others, and instills a belief that diversity is part of human nature, according to Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL).
Al-Issa’s comments came during an address to the Wilton Park Forum, held for three days in the UK to discuss “Promoting Inclusive Citizenship,” with the support of the British government and the attendance of a number of religious, political and intellectual figures.
“All of our participations aim to protect human dignity, including protecting people’s rights and legitimate freedoms in the light of the constitutional provisions and laws,” he said. “We have also agreed on the importance of understanding the nature of diversity as a human nature that God has created and then guided people to dialogue for the sake of reaching mutual understanding, convergence and cooperation.”
Al-Issa quoted a verse from the Qur’an that says: “And if Allah had willed, He could have made you (of) one religion, but He causes to stray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And you will surely be questioned about what you used to do.”
The MWL chief added: “God has created diverse people, and had He willed, He could have made them one nation, which means there will be a negative difference between them and only an aware group of people will be able to overcome this difference by realizing God’s wisdom in diversity.”
He pointed out that the verse indicates that God created people for that diversity. “This invites us to reflect on the divine wisdom, the test it conveys, and the subsequent reward in the Hereafter,” he said. “If people were not diverse, they would have been a different creation like angels, who were created in one form.”
Al-Issa discussed the challenges facing inclusive citizenship, in particular the lack of awareness that often arises from a negative family or school environment, a negative general culture established by religious, political and legislative discourse as well as the negative discourse of civil society institutions, in addition to the availability of fair values in the vision, mission and objectives of each state.
“We must explore ways to treat this problem, review ideal global experiences in this regard, and learn the secret behind their success and excellence in inclusive citizenship and positive integration between their religious and ethnic diversities,” he said.
The MWL chief said that the most important problem associated with inclusive citizenship has to do with the foundations of the general culture, which requires the employment of effective practical programs that suit the conditions of each society.
“How great it would be to see everyone during national occasions at the height of convergence as they rally under the flag of one country, proving in practice that difference does not mean hatred or exclusion. It is also important to build inclusive moral institutions on the foundations of the citizenship project.”
“From here, we welcome the human harmony, or the human family, that exceeds the abstract meaning of fraternity imposed on us as a fate. Man is the brother of man, whether he wishes it or not. How great it would be if this harmony included everyone, not only in spiritual words or through the Abrahamic system so as not to fall into the taboo classification and exclusion of humanity in general.
“Spiritual people can also set their own framework for fraternity, harmony, or the faith family. For instance, the Abrahamic system in the human harmony project has a restriction that excludes half the population of the earth.
“Special groups, whether Abrahamic or otherwise, can cooperate in any productive work that is beneficial for them and for all mankind without bearing any exclusionary message on the subject of coexistence and human peace in general,” Al-Issa said.