x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Benefits of dialogue across religions

The Saudi daily Al Riyadh says that the prospect for a successful dialogue among civilisations is improving because the whole world needs to stand up against international terrorism.

The Saudi daily Al Riyadh says that the prospect for a successful dialogue among civilisations is improving because the whole world needs to stand up against international terrorism. Yousif al Quilait wrote in an article for the newspaper that the first call for dialogue came from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques on the premise of shared religious principles. Reason should guide human beings in the pursuit of their common goals.

Religious values should not lead to military, psychological or cultural conflict, but rather to coexistence and mutual acknowledgement of beliefs and religions, al Quilait argues. Forums on multi-religious dialogue are being held to tackle relevant issues and end historical bloodshed. The important benefit would be to overcome the psychological barrier between people since religions, including Islam, have always advocated peace and dialogue, the writer suggests.

He calls for reason to prevail to combat ancient hatreds and disarm political and religious extremists by cultivating common interests. A good start would be to remove the causes of conflict such as famine and misery. In this respect, rich nations have a great responsibility: they should forsake their selfishness and start looking for ways to combat today's miseries.

An editorial in the Yemeni daily Al Thawrah said that on the occasion of Union Day on July 7, the people of Yemen had shown their adherence to the national union for which so many sacrifices had been made. Yemenis are not ready to relinquish the realisation in 1990 of their dream to be reunited, the editorial argued. No matter how fierce internal and external challenges are, Yemenis will combat calls for disintegration and regionalisation.

The paper argued that the prospect of returning to the dark old days of disunity would be going against the course of history, despite attempts by a minority to advance inflammatory propaganda. The secessionist project was doomed and its advocates would fail because no local community, no matter how small, would support it. Yemen is bound to democracy and pluralism, the paper said. The editorial concluded that the union is a reflection of the will and aspirations of the Yemeni people towards democracy and development. The July 7 celebrations were a clear expression of adherence to and consolidation of such a union.

In the Kuwaiti daily Assiyasah, Khaled Aid Janfawi wrote: some independent Arab newspapers are facing challenges not only from reduced profits, but also from the pressure of public authorities. In the West the yellow press is balanced by a serious counterpart, which is responsible morally, socially and culturally. The former, on the contrary, is only after profits.

Janfawi wrote that unfortunately in the Arab world there were many challenges facing a credible press aware of its historic responsibility to enlighten individuals and society. Most of the regional media reports are based on sensationalism which fails to meet international journalistic standards. As a result, the Arab press loses credibility. The very few credible media outlets in the Arab world face financial challenges in addition to the threat of being sued and censured.

This type of press plays a vital role in helping the Arab individual and society follow world developments.

The Iraqi writer Ala'a al Lami wrote in the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar about the deterioration of water supplies in Iraq. Huge Turkish dam projects are being compounding the scarcity after successive droughts. By 2015, such projects will kill both the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, the writer projected. The breach of international environmental standards requires countries with international tributaries to better manage the resource. In addition to Turkey's actions, Iran has altered the course of waterways that used to feed into the Tigris. Neither Turkey or Iran have ratified relevant UN conventions and Turkey has failed to abide by its 1946 agreement with Iraq to consult with it prior to launching water projects on shared resources. Its attitude, the writer argued, is motivated by the old proverb: "if oil is for Arabs, water is for Turks".

As a result, Iraq is witnessing a massive population exodus due to water scarcity. The government and parliament have taken weak stances on the issue, and should work to internationalise the issue to prevent a catastrophe, the writer argued. * Digest compiled by Hassan Abboudi and Mohamed Naji mnaji@thenational.ae