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‘Human element in mosques counts’

Walaa Hawari | Arab News —


Monday 6 July 2009 (13 Rajab 1430)


RIYADH: Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh Al-Asheikh said during the second session of the Certified Trainers Forum for Promoting Dialogue that the mosque is just a place and that human element in this place is what counts.


Al-Asheikh said during Sunday’s session entitled “The Importance of Mosques in Promoting Dialogue” that training programs are available for preachers to equip them with necessary knowledge and tools. For example, one program urges one monthly Friday sermon on the evils of domestic violence.


The minister emphasized the power and importance of dialogue but said “the world is not driven by dialogue alone, but also by the determination of decision makers.”


Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, who also spoke at the forum, said he considered dialogue as one of the important factors of development.


Speaking on the role of the Education Ministry in promoting dialogue, he emphasized the need for professional educators who can provide proper guidance to students to practice what they learn from classrooms. He said teachers should set a good example to their students.“Teachers should engage students in constructive dialogue in order to open their minds,” he added.


Prince Faisal said critical thinking is an important part of education. “Students should develop a culture of dialogue from their early years, so they would not fall prey to the proponents of division and enmity,” he said.


The education minister addressed the issue of the Internet, which he said is a medium that cannot be ignored as an open market for successful economic partnerships, and as a means for the exchange of ideas and information. It is, he added, also a place for “mischief and wickedness” such as a meeting point for extremists and purveyors of vice, such as gambling and pornography.


“Connection through dialogue is what drives human nature toward a unified understanding, and it leads us to the knowledge to bridge the gap between yesterday and the confusion of today,” he said, stressing the importance of teaching the young the culture of dialogue. The minister also urged parents to avoid treating their children tersely.


The three-day forum ends on Monday.


On Saturday, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh urged the Ummah to accept different points of view and to find ways to urge new generations to both accept dialogue as a basic Islamic principle and to encourage them to uphold the values of religion.



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