The participants in the 5th National Forum for Dialogue in Riyadh evidently think it will be better PR for them and the Kingdom of they stop railing against “infidels” and start railing against “the other.” But wait! Isn’t it the West (as the learned Saidists will tell us), in its quest to demonize the “other,” that has created all the tension between Muslims and the Western world? If the Saudis start talking about the filthy “other” who wars against Islam and must be conquered and subjugated, won’t that make them guilty of the same thing? And, um, show (once again) the bankruptcy of the whole Saidist thesis? Hmmm.
“Better Understanding With Non-Muslims Stressed,” from Arab News, with thanks to Eschwapp:
RIYADH, 24 June 2005 “” Participants who gathered in a preliminary session of the 5th National Forum for Dialogue which is to be held in Abha, have asked that the word “infidel” be substituted by “other” in all religious and media speeches in the Kingdom when referring to non-Muslims.
They also called for better upbringing according to universal Islamic teachings of children, where youngsters would learn how to properly deal with “others” and called for religious institutions in the Kingdom to acknowledge their mistakes and correct them in this matter, whether they were in the judicial system or during sermons in mosques. Furthermore, they said that the hatred taught about non-Muslims in the educational system and in the media should stop and called for a definition of “religious standards” on how to deal with non-Muslims.
Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef, deputy head of the National Forum for Dialogue who attended Wednesday”s preliminary session in Abha, said that efforts must be exerted for permitting what he called “an open channel” where citizens would express their concerns and discuss matters of interest at all levels.
Dr. Naseef also stressed in his opening speech the importance of how we deal with others and others” feelings about us. He also said it was important to know our shortcomings in our dealing with others, adding that it was equally important to improve the way we deal with others, no matter where they were or where they come from.
Abha’s preliminary session to the 5th National Forum for Dialogue under the title “We and the others” which will be held in several months time in the same city, was attended by some 50 male and female participants from different educational backgrounds, among which were religious scholars, thinkers, young men and women, and local residents.
Discussions held by the participants also shed light on the need to define who the “other” was before engaging in a dialogue with the other party.
One participant said that “before engaging in any conversation with another party, it is important to know what the other party knows about us and how he thinks about us,” adding that it was important to “reconstruct society and provide the chance for its citizens to educate themselves in a way that would be beneficial to everyone on how to deal with others.”…
Yet another participant, Dr. Ali Al-Moussa, said that many Saudis have used religious speech to promote their own ideas of rhetoric and hatred toward others, especially since many of them have not been educated well enough in religion and tend to abuse the term “sheikh” to spread wrong messages in the community.
Well, certainly the wrong messages are getting out. But this doesn’t seem to have been any accident, and has happened at the highest levels. We have documented many instances here of hatred and vitriol against the “other” being featured on official Saudi TV. Will that change? I doubt it.