HE the Minister of Justice, Hassan Bin Abdullah Al Ghanem opened Monday morning at Sheraton Doha the 9th Annual Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue under the theme "Social Media and the Interfaith Dialogue .. A Vision of the Future". The minister noted in an opening speech that the belief in the oneness of God is the basis upon which the divine religions are built and hence, it is incumbent upon all to maintain a relationship of mutual respect for the good of humanity , to which all belong. Al Ghanem said that the Qatari people, under the leadership of HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani believe in those noble values. "By organizing the previous eight conferences we have confirmed that we look at the Interfaith dialogue as a means for communication and exploring the other in order to reach sublime objectives that improve the status of the human being and respect his dignity, not at the futile dialogue which only leads to more dissension and differences". Dialogue among the followers of the divine religions is practical and real, aiming at coexistence of peoples in dignity, equality, peace and security, he said
Al Ghanem said that social media has both negative and positive aspects . Societies are required to develop the positive aspects and regulate them, and to minimize the impact of the other aspects. He recalled that if such means weren''t capable of cherishing dialogue and acknowledging the existence of others they could be transformed into means of hatred and racism as was the case in some countries. The minister called for using information technology in promoting dialogue and wondered whether there should be a code of conduct to prevent any insults to sanctuaries or religions. Such issues will be tackled at the conference, he noted.
For his part , Chairman of the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue Dr. Ibrahim Saleh Al Naimi said that the title choice was down to three main reasons. The first according to the Chairman was the large role social media played in issues in the Middle-East. He added that the Arab Spring is the biggest proof of the importance of social media. Another reason, the Chairman mentioned during his speech, is the negative uses of social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. He also called on religious leadership to take social media into account as part of their tools in communication. Dr. Ibrahim Saleh Al Naimi said that he hopes the conference can come up with a global charter of honor with regard to the healthy and positive uses of social media so that it can enhance communication between religions
Former Egyptian Mufti Dr. Nasr Farid Wasil , on his part ,presented a worksheet that stressed Islam''s keenness for interfaith dialogue. He stated in the worksheet that Islam recognizes the importance of human communication and the interaction between different societies. Dr. Farid stressed that the doctrine and Sharia of Islam made its message international to achieve that communication between different societies. Dr. Farid''s worksheet turned to issues such as Islam''s keenness for science and cultivation of scientific efforts. Dr. Farid also touched upon the role of science and scientists in enhancing social interaction. He particularly pointed out the technological revolution which helped achieve better communication and cooperation between people. He added that it is necessary to focus on the positive aspects of these tools rather than the negative ones. He added that the negative aspects of these tools occur due to the absence religious teachings.