Wahhabi cleric complains about religous intolerance!!!

Attempts to impose views lead to conflicts: Al-Saffar

Sheikh Hassan Al-Saffar
Arab News

MADRID: Sheikh Hassan Al-Saffar, a prominent Saudi Islamic scholar, expressed his hope that the World Conference on Dialogue in Madrid would help defeat instigators of wars and conflicts as well as proponents of a clash of civilizations.

Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the conference, Al-Saffar said the move to impose one’s ideology over others was the main factor that threatens peaceful coexistence of people of different faiths.

“Some people think that it’s their right to impose their views on others as they believe that only their religion is correct and others are wrong. This attempt to dominate over others undermines coexistence and human relations,” said Al-Saffar. “Those who want to propagate their ideas should present them in a decent manner and give the public the choice to accept or reject them. This will encourage free thinking and generate respect for the views of others.”

Al-Saffar commended Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for taking the initiative to hold the interfaith conference. “The king convened a meeting of prominent Islamic scholars and intellectuals in Makkah last month when he felt that they were not well prepared for such a dialogue.”

He also spoke about the keynote speech made by King Abdullah while opening the Madrid conference on Wednesday, saying the ideas presented by the king were significant.

“Man, who can be a cause of the destruction of this planet, has the ability to make it an oasis of peace and tranquility where followers of different religions could coexist, respect one another and sort out problems through dialogue without resorting to violence,” the king said.

Al-Saffar also referred to the statement made by Abdullah Al-Turki, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, that the conference would not discuss controversial political and religious issues.

“This is very important because mankind has suffered a lot as a result of religious disputes and attempts to impose one’s view on the other which on some occasions led to conflicts. It is time now to accept one another,” he said.

He recited a verse from the Qur’an that has mentioned six different faiths, including Judaism and Christianity. “The Qur’an mentioned those religions because they exist in this world ... and it is the duty of Muslims to coexist with the followers of other faiths peacefully.”

He urged Muslims to be more objective and reasonable in dealing with other faiths. “Our problem is we don’t read others correctly and depend solely on preconceived notions about others, having images of others that do not conform with reality.”

Al-Saffar said religions like Judaism, Christianity and Buddhism have undergone changes during the past several centuries, like the changes that have taken place in Islamic thought. “We cannot draw a picture of another religion based on an old book that was written centuries ago.”

Speaking about Spain, he said Islam had an important presence in the country.

“From Spain, Islamic civilization spread to other parts of Europe,” he said, adding that Islamic civilization had benefited from other faiths.

He hoped that the interfaith conference would promote understanding among followers of various religions. He urged the media to promote interfaith dialogue in order to promote world peace.

Al-Saffar said the conference also helped bring together followers of the different schools of thought (madhabs) among Muslims.

“Even the leaders of different madhabs in a country do not meet, let alone with leaders of other faiths,” he said, stressing the need for holding such forums repeatedly.

“We should also have joint organizations for the followers of different faiths, one for highlighting the importance of family and another for promoting peace and stability, for example. This way religion can play a greater role in dealing with human issues and protecting human values.”

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