A conference on Pluralism and Difference from an Islamic Perspective has concluded at An-Najah University in Nablus, in the occupied West Bank. The organising committee said that it was conducted in partnership with the British Council and the Faculties of Educational Science and Islamic Law. Participants addressed the striking changes taking place in the Islamic and Arab world and discussed the concepts of pluralism and freedom of speech.
Recognising the legality of pluralism, those in attendance recommended more work concentrating on the priorities of the Palestinians and their cause, as well as on their right to self-determination.
The inaugural session of the conference was attended by the Chairman of An-Najah University, Dr Rami Hamadallah, and many other religious, academic and government officials.
Dr Hamadallah welcomed the participants of the conference which, he pointed out, was held at a time of significant events taking place in Arab and Islamic States. He offered a particular welcome to the representatives of the British Council.
The Mufti of the Palestinian territories, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, said that such activities are important to reach out to a pluralist society. He thanked the University for organising such an important event and pointed out that Allah has created all human beings, and that diversity and difference are accepted by the Creator.
The conference included several papers presented by specialists in various religious, academic and commercial fields, as well as local and international NGOs.
Dr. Naser El-Dein Al-Sha'er, the conference Rapporteur, said that participants had discussed a number of topics such as the foundations of pluralism and its historical roots, the idea of pluralism as a cosmic phenomenon, the manifestations of pluralism and difference in Islamic intellect, as well as pluralism in other cultures.
Other topics included the reality of pluralism and its impact on development in the Islamic world, legislation and guarantees for the rights of pluralism and difference, and pluralistic trends in Islamic society. All pointed to the need for co-existence within Islamic societies.
MEMO Photographer: Ibtehal Mansour