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Conference of Religions 2008, Israel, dialogue, normalization with Israel.

H.E, Sayyed Fadlullah received a delegation of Iranian scholars and students

Sayyed Fadlullah criticized attending the Conference of Religions

The Religious Authority H.E. Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah received an Iranian delegation of a number of scholars and students from the Imam Al-Khomeini University, headed by the director of international affairs, Sheik Abu Hassan Hakkani.

Sheikh Hakkani briefed the Sayyed on the university's work and the thesis and studies accomplished in it. He also talked about giving the students abroad a chance to study through correspondence and indicated that the university teaches in both Arabic and English, in addition to Persian. He also pointed out that several significant studies and pages have been translated to more than one language, especially in the field of religious comparison and the studies of each religion by itself.

Addressing the delegation Sayyed Fadlullah emphasized that adopting such a scientific methodology represents a manifestation of the great progress the Hawza in Qum has accomplished. There used to be a competition between the Hawza and the university, and many have sought to prove that there is a contradiction between the scientific methodology, of the university and the juristic methodology ... I have always emphasized that scientific methodology is the basis of Shariah studies. And that objectivity in research is the essence of any science including religious sciences.  And this would enable both the Hawza and the university to advance and play their important role in the society.

H.E. emphasized that the scholars (teachers) and the students should acquire the sense of being contemporary both in their mind and approach.

They should learn the means, ways, methodologies and languages of the age they are living in. They should learn about its weak and strong points, and benefit from it in what deepens the Islamic concepts and ideas in the minds, albeit in a way that preserves our principles and constants. Taking a distance from the contemporary age does not represent any value or virtue to students, teachers or callers, especially in these times of differences in opinion that are characterized by the easiness of communication and the development of methodology. We should be aware of all that, to be able to present our ideas in a way that can be accepted by others. Our prophet Muhammad said: we, the prophets, were commanded to talk to the people according to their minds.

He also emphasized the need that all studies should develop the mentality of both scholars and students, especially towards recognizing the others, and respecting the differences with them, as well by believing in the freedom of thought and discussion.

The difference in opinion between our great scholars in the past was considered an ordinary thing that is acceptable both by the intellectual circles and the common people. We should not feel strange or worried if one scholar differs with another, provided they do not surpass the limits. We need a lot of openness to enter into several religious or jurisprudent discussions and an open and broad mind to have dialogue with the world, whether secular or religious, whether with Jews or Christians or even Buddhists and Hindus. The dialogue that is conducted in an open and broad minded mentality facilitates the reaching of your ideas to the other, and paves the way for a better mutual understanding and problem solving.

The Sayyed touched on the issue of the conference of dialogue of Religions that would be convened in the USA, under the auspicious of the UN. He found it odd to invite the head of the Israeli entity to this conference being the criminal who is responsible for many massacres, including that of Qana, where he ordered the killing of scores of civilians who sought protection in the UN quarters.

H.E. saw in inviting Perez an implicit approval by the UN and its Secretary General of these massacres and an invitation to commit additional ones. He pointed out that a comparison between religions requires the presence of a moderate Jewish scholar from outside Israel, who presents Judaism as it is, so that an objective and faithful discussion can take place.

The Sayyed added that the normalization between the Zionist Entity and several Arab regimes has started to take two tracks. The invisible security track and the track of conferences which have become significant and public landmarks for normalization under the guise of dialogue between civilisations, or economic conferences.

This represents a major crime against Palestine and its people that are besieged in Gaza and the West Bank and who are bulldozed by the settling and Judaizing activities, not only from the olive gardens and their villages and towns but also from the heart of Jerusalemů

Thus, we question the wisdom and the benefit of attending such conferences and of meeting such personalities, even if it only suggests that such meetings have taken place, or even if it only means sitting with those criminals at the same table.