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Reception, Danish media delegation, Western media, freedom of expression, the new American Administration


The Reception of a Danish media delegation

Fadlullah: The Prospects for the success of dialogue in the region are scarce

His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, received a delegation that included 20 Danish reporters, correspondents, editors, writers and news-casters. They dealt with the issues of the East-West dialogue, the Muslim-Christian dialogue, the Muslim community relations with the Western states and the propaganda of certain Western media sources to incite fear from Islam. In addition, the political conditions in Lebanon and the region were discussed, especially in view of the election of the American President, Barack Obama.

Sayyed Fadlullah addressed the delegation pointing out in the beginning that the mission of journalists resembles that of prophets, especially regarding the search for truth and unveiling it, as well as fighting any attempt to forge it. He also indicated that journalism is a cultural political and humanitarian message that is of utmost importance in the lives of the peoples. The Sayyed also called for not using the media to harm international peace, human relations and the achievements of civilization.

Sayyed Fadlullah called for the respect for the freedom of expression, but on the basis of humanitarian limitations, since abusing the other is very different from the objective criticism that might be addressed to him. He explained that Islam respects the opinion of the other and gives him the chance to express his views and engages with him in a scientific dialogue, refusing any kind of abuse or cursing. It also calls for relying on proof and evidence. Thus, the respect of the relation with the other, whether an individual, a people, or a religious or political party calls for the respect of his political, cultural and religious components, but this does not mean that you have to adhere to them or not discuss them in an objective and civilized manner.

He also pointed out that the West does not apply the same criteria when it comes to criticism. Many Western states have defended the offending drawings of the Prophet (p.), as part of the freedom of expression. But at the same time, they prevent any criticism of Israel and punish whoever criticizes, in a rational and scientific manner, the Holocaust or the Jews, accusing him of being anti-Semitic. The West has even remained silent, regarding the latest offenses against Christ (p.) and his mother, Mary (a.s.).

Answering a question about the future in the Middle East, His Eminence said: The problem of this region, in general, lies in that their governments are more like dictatorships than they are elected by the people. The state is not an institution in the deep sense of the word. It is ruled by someone who assumes absolute power, and then he passes it to his son, as if it were a personal property. It could also be ruled by dynasties and the laws of the intelligence and emergencies. Even the elections are drawn before hand and the judiciary is subjugated by the politicians who are not held accountable and are never tried. Moreover, the states of savage globalization continue to find in this region the natural resources and the markets that they have to conquer.

The new American Administration is still trying to draw the basis that will enable it to revitalize the American economy, so that it could regain its imperial dominance over the world. Thus, it will continue to exert pressure on the states of the European Union to adopt economic, political and security policies that conform with what enhances the American interests. Meanwhile, the United States continues its efforts to ensure its political, economic and even military dominance of the region.   

Thus, it is still early to predict how the situation in the region would unfold in the coming years, despite the American declaration of being ready to enter a new phase of dialogue, especially with Iran and the opposition states. We do not believe that there is a big opportunity for the success of this dialogue, unless the American Administration is thinking of making real and radical change in its foreign policies, since the administration is not the president only; it is also the Congress and the other institutions.

In any case, when we see a real change in the American behavior, we will encourage it and highlight its significance.