“Dialogue and Openness toward Others” by Shiekh Hasan Al-Saffar raises a serious issue in our society that suffers from the absence of openness among each other and lack of dialogue between various parties. The book discusses the causes behind the domination of this case including upbringing manners that raise individuals to be subordinator, curriculum which is based on indoctrination and imposing unilateral opinion, in addition to the radical religious discourse that incite hatred among others.
The author reviewed his own experience with the National Dialogue Initiative, which was launched by King Abdullah in 2004 and included more than 30 Sunni and Shiite intellectuals and thinkers from various regions of the Kingdom.
He also reviewed his participation in the conference of convergence between inter-followers which was held in Bahrain.
Al-Saffar stressed on the importance of comparing various opinions, confirming that this was the orientation of former Muslims scholars who were keen to study others’ opinions in contentious issues. He added that sound thinking based on objectivity not emotion which leads to reject criticizing religious legacy.
On the other hand, he called people to adopt dialogue approach because it gives them the opportunity to review their opinions and know others views, explaining that dialogue does not mean conviction by others beliefs.
Al-Saffar mentioned that dialogue contributes in preserving peace in society, because debaters will lead to reach common points among themselves, mutual respect will lead to a state of and then political and social stability.
After the author called for adopting dialogue on human relations, he demanded authorities to develop this approach in order to avoid falling in confrontation culture and the desire of domination among sects.
He indicated that advanced societies have made great progress in this area until it became a course taught in educational institutions, while Arab societies are still unable to manage dialogue language which ends to impose unilateral opinion.
Al-Saffar said that “Arab countries lack creativity and renewal because of the imbalanced relationship between mind and religion”. He explained that there are some religious groups who misrepresent Islamic provisions, ignoring that the relationship between religion and reason is integration and mutual support.
He stressed on the importance of promoting unity culture and commit to the Islamic concepts and human values among them human and citizenship rights.