This is a summary of an interview with Sheikh Abdullah Alyousif who is a well-known cleric in Qatif, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The interview, which was published in the Saudi Shums Newspaper, is about true coexistence that can not be achieved unless through rapprochement between Islamic sects as Alyousif stated.
Sheikh Alyousif believes in the possibility of rapprochement between Islamic sects; especially between Sunnis and Shiites, in Muslims World. Rapprochement already exists in some regions like Alahssa in the East of Saudi Arabia, where Sunnis and Shiites lived together in peace for centuries.
He admitted that Islamic sects in some Muslims communities are exchanging mutual hatred due to sectarian tension which is promoted by some groups and trends that seek Muslims disunion. He declared that social peace can not be reached unless through coexistence and spreading the culture of love, peace and acceptance between all the components of the society.
He indicated that all Muslims; whether Sunnis or Shiites, do believe in Allah as their only God, Mohammad as his Prophet and doomsday. They, also, pray five times a day toward one direction; Kiblah, which is the Ka'abah. Moreover, they perform their pilgrimage in one place, fast Ramadhan and believe in protecting Qur'an from distortion. Alyousif emphasized that all of those essential similarities are enough to achieve rapprochement between Muslims.
He explored the meaning of coexistence and defined it as it is living in peace and security with other groups or individuals who are different in religion, trend, race or ideology. Coexistence stems from the principle of admitting the diversity between people and accepting diversity as one of life's facts.
He confirmed that the concept of religious diversity includes adopting the principles of equality, freedom of expression and dialogue, and disapproving the marginalization of others. Sheikh Alyousif believes that coexistence is a political and social necessity for achieving reform in the community.
Coexistence is not a merely secular concept, as Alyousif stated. He stressed that Islam urges it and protects the rights of all followers of other religions, even with enemies. He said that Islam accepts the existence of other religions, and grants their followers the freedom of practicing their rituals.