What role do philosophers and intellectuals play?

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What role do philosophers and intellectuals play?

By Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader

The World Interfaith Harmony Week has coincided with several official and public initiatives and activities in Amman and in various parts of the homeland. This week of harmony is marked on the first week of February and was proposed at the UN General Assembly by His Majesty King Abdullah II before it was unanimously adopted in 2010. At the beginning of February, His Holiness Pope Francis signed an important document with the grand imam of Al-Azhar called, “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”.

The most important point in this document is its rejection of terrorism and violence, as well as its exoneration of religions from any relevant responsibility. The ball is now in the court of philosophers and intellectuals. How valid is this argument?
The document states, “We call upon intellectuals, philosophers, religious figures, artists, media professionals and men and women of culture in every part of the world, to rediscover the values of peace, justice, goodness, beauty, human fraternity and coexistence in order to confirm the importance of these values as anchors of salvation for all, and to promote them everywhere.”

As we live in a post-regression period of several terrorist organizations, we must take the appropriate time to educate the new generation to positively view the future with the values mentioned above. Are our intellectuals, philosophers, religious figures, artists, media professionals are aware of this mammoth duty which is neither simple nor easy? These desired efforts require comprehensive, joint teamwork and a coordinated approach stemming from the National Strategic Plan to Counter Extremism (if available) so as to develop programs and plans designed to achieve the new “culture” and “mentality” embodied in the following values, namely peace, justice, brotherhood, goodness, beauty and common living. This entails getting involved in the world of theater and cinema. It also requires excelling in educational and entertainment television, radio, and social networking sites, as well as in various ways to convey messages through modern channels.

Great effort is needed presently and in the future so as not to leave minds exposed to ideas of extremism, fanaticism and bigotry, but exposed to ideas that view others as partners, complementary, and essential to building a new human civilization based on human fraternity.The World Interfaith Harmony Week is an annual anniversary; however, it is not a week, but a daily activity that should be conducted throughout the year.

O philosophers and intellectuals, the ball is in your court and the field is spacious... it is not exclusive to clergymen or just some of them.

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