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Reception, American law specialists, dialogue, theological dialogue, violence

Fadlullah received a delegation from the US fact-finding committee

The Sayyed: We are waiting for a remarkable amendment to the US foreign policy; Words should be translated into actions

His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah received a delegation from the Council for National Interest (CNI), including a number of ambassadors, previous congressmen, academic professors, and human rights activists. Former Deputy and Ambassador, Steven Buck, headed the delegation, accompanied by the Ambassador of the International Organization for Human Rights to Lebanon and the Middle East, Ali Aqel Khalil.

The outcome of the US policy in the region, especially its unlimited support for Israel, along with inter-cultural and inter-religious communication and dialogue were discussed.

Sayyed Fadlullah welcomed the delegation, saying that the world cannot succumb to one point of view, whether religious or secular. Thus, mankind has no choice but dialogue, which could make the people more tolerant of one another, even though their ideas and opinions are alienated. While some perceive violence as means to resolve problems, it actually creates new ones and provokes conflicts. Hence, we have always repudiated violence and refused to resort to it, unless it was imposed on us. After all, we cannot meet he who uses thousands of smart bombs and missiles against us with bouquet of flowers.

Fadlullah noted that the United Sates is currently passing through one of the most complicated periods throughout its entire history – just as we are experiencing a very difficult and thorny period in the region. The United States cannot rise and rebuild the trust of the world only because its people have chosen an African-American president who has different approaches than his predecessors. It is no longer about words and statements, as the people are looking for actions and influential positions, especially our people who are waiting to see if the new American President will succumb to the desires of the Zionist Lobby or the dictations of the Congress, or if he will manage to influence and modify the US foreign policy and return to the principles of President Wilson. These principles call for the people’s right to self-determination and their right in restoring their land and freedom and dignity, with them regarding this right as sacred and one that cannot be abandoned under any circumstances.

He added: The Americans respect the late President Abraham Lincoln because he strived for the liberation of the slaves and thus, the message behind liberating the slaves means allowing the people to get rid of the occupation and determine their destiny. For this reason, the American Administration must dramatically amend its foreign policy. Over the past months, we heard many statements that carried positive positions, but the chance is ripe for a serious dialogue in the region and hence, for practical positions that do not plead Israel to stop its settlement activities. Instead, they should bring its terrorism and crimes and occupation to an end.

Responding to a question on the prospects of a Jewish-Islamic dialogue, the Sayyed said that the Holy Quran stressed the civilized and humanitarian dialogue with the Christians and Jews, one that should start aside from intimidation, escalated positions, or violence. But the question is: Who are the figures that are able to participate in this dialogue, especially that it should expand its circle as there are no limits when it comes to dialogue? However, we refuse a dialogue with unjust people, be they Muslims, Christians, or Jews, because they are not people of dialogue, but people of tyranny and corruption and they cannot be invited to any theological or cultural dialogue. He added that the Palestinian cause is one of the most complicated issues, seeing that an entire nation was expelled from its lands, and around 5 million refugees and displaced Palestinians are scattered around the world. We cannot compromise our rights and cancel out existence and then start a dialogue, because it is no more a matter of dialogue and it comes within the context of succumbing to unjust people. This is rejected by Islam and all the religions and positive laws and human rights.  

He said that the West needs to reconsider many concepts, particularly those that allow offending and demeaning the prophets and religions under the pretext of the freedom of expression. On the contrary, objective criticism of the Holocaust is placed within the context of anti-Semitism and is prohibited by the laws of some European countries. He called on the western countries not to succumb to the Zionist propaganda on anti-Semitism and to punish anyone who offends or humiliates religions and sacred symbols, and to allow objective criticism which nurtures the mind of mankind.

At the end, Sayyed Fadlullah emphasized the need to work for peace in the East and the West, provided that this peace rests on truth and justice, so as it becomes a genuine and strong peace, not a superficial one. This peace should rest on humanitarian principles, rather than nominal political ones.