Calls for recognizing the other
Recognizing the other includes respecting his freedoms and rights,
especially the right of expression. It also means conducting an
objective and purposeful civilized dialogue to reach common grounds.
in his weekly seminar about the meaning of recognizing the other
and the use of conducting a dialogue with the West, and
especially the American Administration,
Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said:
This term of
recognizing the other is no longer an intellectual one, but
rather a political one that denotes the right of the others to
exist. But it surpasses, in our view, the right of existence to
include the right to think and act in a way that preserves his
interests although it does not necessarily mean agreeing with
him whether religiously or politically… Since multiplicity of
ideas, stands and trends is a vital issue in a multiple society.
In the light of
this, we should not limit it to the individual circle. Rather,
we should study it in the wider social sphere that includes the
cultural religious and political aspects.
In the cultural
dimension, recognizing the other means recognizing a different
culture and studying where you meet and where you differ with it
without any attempt of one to cancel the other. Thus, a dialogue
between the two cultural trends would represent something
similar to the dialogue between civilizations.
In the religious
dimension, recognizing the other's religion should be based on
the Quranic approach of emphasizing the points the two meet on,
and discussing the points of difference in the best means
ethically and ideologically and trying to reach common factors.
This could extend also to those who are not described as
"People of the Book", as well as the secularists, with
the overall concern of conducting a rational and objective
In the political
domain, recognizing the other should encompass political parties
and personalities so as to avoid the politics of exclusion. And
as we call for all political parties to recognize the others'
right to express their opinions as a means of conducting a
civilized competition and paving the way for a civilized
dialogue, we also call on them to recognize the other within
their party ranks. We call on them not to exclude those who
differ with the opinion of the leadership. They should not be
afraid of the opposition, and they should allow it to express
its ideas and act on convincing the other party members, so as
to become the majority and change the leadership.
Our problem in the
Arab and Islamic world, as well as several countries in the
Third World, might well be the culture of exclusion that have
prevented the political and cultural vanguard from participating
in the political process by physically or morally eliminating
them. It is the responsibility of any authority to recognize and
protect the freedom of all its citizens, and enable them to
express their opinion especially those who do not agree with its
views, so as we will not reach the stage where the security of
the country is reduced to the security of the ruler, and so that
he will not, along with his family and entourage, monopolize the
The same thing is
true on the world level, where the super powers exclude other
nations, by denying them their right to exist let alone the
right to develop their own resources.
Thus, we believe
that the talk about democracy is not based on a firm ground,
since these superpowers do not have an interest in allowing
other nations to be independent and masters of their own fate.
That is why we are
witnessing an international attack led by the United States to
cancel the others in the name of fighting terrorism. They are
intimidating the Arab and Islamic World to impose a certain kind
of recognition of the other (whether the American or the
Israeli) that is actually accepting his political terms without
any dialogue. That is why the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were
waged. And that is why they want to impose the Israeli security
conditions, deny the right of return and resettle Palestinians
in their exiles. In short, they want to drop the international
law in favor of the law of power.
demands action on two levels: To promote the culture of
recognizing the other in our political, ideological and
religious lives on the basis of an objective and purposeful
dialogue, and to confront the international offensive led by
America and Israel.
In this respect,
any progress on one front will have a positive impact on the