An international conference on religion and terrorism concludes in Bulgaria

  • warning: htmlspecialchars() expects parameter 1 to be string, array given in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 867.
  • warning: htmlspecialchars() expects parameter 1 to be string, array given in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 867.
  • warning: htmlspecialchars() expects parameter 1 to be string, array given in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 867.
  • warning: htmlspecialchars() expects parameter 1 to be string, array given in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 867.
  • warning: htmlspecialchars() expects parameter 1 to be string, array given in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 867.
  • warning: htmlspecialchars() expects parameter 1 to be string, array given in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 867.
  • warning: htmlspecialchars() expects parameter 1 to be string, array given in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 867.
  • warning: htmlspecialchars() expects parameter 1 to be string, array given in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 867.

An international conference on religion and terrorism concludes in Bulgaria

By Fr. Rifat Bader

At an invitation extended by the Sofia-based Bulgarian Center for Middle East Studies, an international conference on religion and terrorism convened on May 15-17, 2017.

The conference was opened by Bulgarian Vice President Ms. Ilyana Yotova in the presence of Arab and Bulgarian diplomatic figures. The conference included seven sessions in which researchers from Bulgaria, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia and Algeria took part. Jordan was represented by former Jordanian minister of awqaf Dr. Hayel Abdul Hafiz, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan Fr. Rifat Bader, and Dr. Yousef Al Abdullat. Fr. Atallah Hanna from Palestine also took part in the conference.

The participating researchers presented working papers touching on the relationship between religion and terrorism, the role of religion in curtailing terrorism, and the experiences which several countries had in handling the phenomenon of extremist Islam.
The researchers also reviewed the relationship among religion, politics, and violence.

The working papers touched on the philosophical dimensions of religion and terrorism, the Islamic-Christian dimensions in the Middle East, and the religious dimensions of terrorism in the Middle East.

Following the expanded deliberations, the conference issued the following final statement which included the following recommendations:

*We convey our thanks and appreciation to the organizers of this conference, to the Center for Middle East Studies, and to Bulgarian Vice President Ms. Ilyana Yotova for the facilities provided to convene this conference. Thanks and respects are also due to the noble Bulgarian people who are characterized by tolerance, conviviality, and peace.

*Extremism is a universal phenomenon that is not confined to a certain nation or religion as all the divine regions--namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam--call for love and peace. Yet, some of the followers of these religions do misrepresent and distort them by distancing them from their divine and humane purposes.

* Handling the phenomenon of extremism must be comprehensive particularly through instilling education relevant to the culture of dialogue, accepting difference with and the opinions of others, democracy and plurality.

*It is the responsibility of the concerned ministries of education as well as of the religious institutions, such as mosques and churches, to disseminate the spirit of love and common living among those who follow various religious orientations.

*The participants stressed the need to tackle the socio-economic factors that contribute to the emergence of violence. They also underlined the importance of the role played by clergymen, affiliated with various religions, in calling for the elimination of extremism and hatred as well as rejecting all the justifications presented by extremists.

*The principle of citizenship is the basis for bringing together all the components of states and societies regardless of their ethnicity or religion. All citizens are equal with regards to rights and duties where all have to cooperate for the development of their countries and for attaining prosperity.

*The enemies of the Arab nation have exploited religious and ideological conflict in order to fragment the region and to undermine its capabilities. Efforts should be focused on promoting cooperation among followers of religions, and continuing the procession based on love and respect.

*The governments have to rehabilitate the preachers and imams as well as to educate them so as to disseminate the message of love and tolerance, as these governments are responsible in the first place to guarantee that worshipping places do not turn into places that spread violence and hatred.

*The Israeli-Zionist occupation of Palestine is a form of extremism and terrorism where Zionism practised an ugly act of extremism and terrorism against the Palestinian people after having occupied their homeland and made them homeless in all parts of the world.

*The political employment of extremist thoughts and groups contributed to the emergence of terrorist groups that enjoy financial and intellectual support, which is used to fragment and undermine the region. Furthermore, the initial stage leading to combating terrorism starts with stopping all forms of support to these groups.

* The endorsement of the shedding of the blood of those who have diverse views should be criminalized in religions since it distorts the image of religion on the one hand as well as it is a flagrant facet of terrorism and it is one of its causes on the other.

*The jihad in Islam is a principle designed to ward off aggression on humans and their lands and it is against occupation. It is not a means to perpetrate violence and killing. The Muslim ulema should eliminate this misunderstanding of this term at a time when jihad became a means to mislead the youths by causing their death and manipulating them as tools of killing and destruction.

*The school curricula are an important means to ensure having humans who believe in the right to life, to the freedom of opinion and faith, and to accepting others for the prosperity of humanity. All countries have to base their curricula on this conception and to eliminate all the impurities that nurture extremism and violence.

*The conferees recommend the establishment of a non-governmental organization for Islamic-Christian cooperation in the face of religious extremism and hatred. The proposed organization should be formed of clergymen and politicians from the Arab countries and Bulgaria.

*The various cultures are designed to enrich humanity where dialogue and cooperation are necessary for the benefit of humans. There should not be conflicts designed to bring about domination and enslavement. Everybody should raise the slogan that reads: “Steadfast humanity in the face of extremism and terrorism”.

*Everybody has to brush aside differences relevant to religion and ethnicity, as well as to cooperate for the treatment of human ailments which are represented in disease, poverty, ignorance, unemployment and bigotry being the root cause of extremism and terrorism.

*We call for considering this conference as a non-governmental organization for Islamic-Christian cooperation in the face of religious extremism and hatred. The members of this conference are viewed as basic members of this organization which will include in the future religious, scientific, and religious figure from Bulgaria and the Arab countries.

Comment through the site Comment through facebook

Comments

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.