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Receiving American journalists, academic figures, human dialogue, the US Administration

Reception of an American delegation

Fadlullah: We encourage a dialogue with the United States… But Obama is still incapable of implementing change

His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, received an American delegation that included Novelist and Writer Richard North Patterson, filmmaker and broadcast journalist David Lewis, Director of Harley-Davidson Inc. and Hathaway Brown School Martha Brooks, Tobby Brooks who is active in managing personal investments and in operating a private family foundation that focuses on economic development projects, Dr. Nancy Clair, and others.

A lengthy meeting took place, addressing the foundations of dialogue between civilizations and religions, the horizons of the relations between the Islamic world and the United States, the US policy under Obama, and the prospects of the peace process in the region following the speech of the enemy's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

Sayyed Fadlullah spoke to the delegation: We do not want to engage in a war or enmity with the United States. As Arabs and Muslims, we view the United States as the country that sums up the peoples of the world; a country that is rich with its institutions and research centers and academies to which all the peoples of the world have opened up, including the Arab and Muslim peoples. We believe that the successful experiences of any people bring success to mankind as a whole, and we encourage any interaction between the nations, one that is based on understanding, communication, openness, and mutual respect.

He added: We believe that there is no clash of civilizations in the world, because there is no pure nation by itself. Every nation takes a few things from other nations, and as such, there is a continued overlapping between the civilizations. Hence, there are no clashing civilizations, but clashing policies. We believe in interaction and dialogue between civilizations and religions, which further promotes the human civilization under which people are respected on the basis of justice, human, cultural, and religious values.

Sayyed Fadlullah stressed that the United States has not embarked on radical change yet as Obama pledged, at least regarding our peoples and causes. Until today, the United States is yet to explain for the Arabs how to establish two states, after Netanyahu has imposed new conditions that cancelled the right of return, increased settlement activities, and clung to Jerusalem. Netanyahu also affirmed that Palestine is a country for the Jews and is the national homeland of the Jews. By this, Netanyahu has blocked all chances to establish a viable Palestinian State.

He continued: Obama seeks to push the Arab and Islamic world into normalizing its ties with Israel without offering anything in return. Settlement activities are ongoing, and the US President has not uttered the term occupation until now, even pertaining to the lands referred to by the UN Resolutions as occupied territories. We have not heard from Obama any word denouncing the racist wall which was labeled as illegitimate by The Hague. Therefore, the United States is asked to abandon its colonizing role in the region, and to refrain from supporting dictatorships that do not believe in democracy. The United States should also put serious pressures on Israel so that we can open a new chapter with it, in light of the change in its foreign policy, namely as to the Palestinian cause.

He continued: We want the American people to look at the history of the region, so as to know that the Jews dominated Palestine on the basis of a myth that was marketed worldwide. Supported by the West, the Jews managed to expel the Palestinian people from their lands, thanks in particular to the western administrations which continue to punish anyone who criticizes the Jews, even though this criticism is scientific, under the pretext of anti-Semitism. We also do know that some western laws prosecute anyone who criticizes the Holocaust.

Responding to a question by one of the attendees, Fadlullah said that the slogan of the American President was “yes we can”, but I do believe that “no he cannot” because change does not lie in desires only, and because Obama is still impotent in front of the Congress, the Jewish Lobby, and the pressure groups. Therefore, we see that the doors of the White House are open before whoever adopts the Israeli point of view, and Denise Ross will not be the last of them.

He added: Anyone seeking peace should not deny the right of return and the UN Resolutions pertaining to this right. Whoever is looking forward to see a nuclear-free world should not remain silent on the nuclear heads owned by Israel. Whoever speaks of the freedom of the nations should not deny the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and to a sovereign state.

In response to another question, the Sayyed said that Islam is not a religion of violence, but rather one of peace. Islam has embraced the Jews after they were treated unjustly by the West, and violence was practiced in the West more than in the Arab and Muslim world. For instance, the death toll in the World Wars I and II was one million, not to mention those killed during the colonization campaigns against our people and during the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. So the West, which burned the world with violence, cannot come to us lecturing about peace and the culture of peace. Nonetheless, we believe that violence is a global phenomenon that has nothing to do with religions. It has its motives and reasons. How do we explain the violence practiced by the mobs in the West and the children who kill their fellow students and teachers at American and western colleges? Therefore, this does not mean that we have the right to accuse all nations of violence, because violence exists in the East and the West and among western and eastern nations. Those who believe in violence in our region are very few and they do not understand the real message and meaning of Islam.

He added: How can the US Administration consider Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist groups although they are defending their lands, while it does not regard Israel’s killing of 500 Palestinian children by phosphorus bombs as a terrorist act?

Responding to another question on whether he encourages a dialogue between the United States and Hezbollah, Sayyed Fadlullah stressed that he supports any human-human dialogue and any serious dialogue that allows us to get to know the other and understand his point of view. He added that the problem of the subsequent US Administrations is that they turned their back on the Arabs and Muslims and contended themselves with looking at the region with the Israeli eye.

He concluded: We love life and we reject anyone who forces people to seek death. We admire a just and responsible life, so we reject those who enslave the oppressed people. This is our position regarding our relations with superpowers and other countries.