(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - American participant in interfaith conference in Tehran highlighted trust between opponents and respectful contestation as necessities of a successful interreligious dialogue.
Charles Randall Paul, President of the Foundation for Interreligious Diplomacy based in the US underscored the open-mindedness for honest criticisms as a vital part of interreligious dialogue.
Attending the conference titled “Religions and Contemporary Awakening”, he referred to the objectives of the US based interreligious center saying, “Our vision is to create friendship between religious rivals, to create trust between opponents.”
Having a background in social psychology, Charles Randall Paul said, “Every human interaction has an element of desire that the other person responds you in a new way.” Adding this persuasion might be centered on the righteousness of one’s religious views.
According to the US attendant in the interreligious conference, the vision of the gathering was to begin a dialogue of understanding that move to a dialogue of contestation, defining the word contestation as”to witness with another.”
Still in another part of his speech he related on dawa (invitation in Arabic) saying, “dawa is an honest description of your deepest beliefs that you give to another person in care for another person.” And added, “We have enough confidence in our religious beliefs that our religions are big enough to be able to handle the honest witness of others who contradict our beliefs not because they hate us not because they want to do us harm but because they in their honest heart believe that we are wrong and that it is dangerous that we are wrong.”
He referred to Qur’an that there is no compulsion in religion.
“We are in need of a person who can be religiously very convicted, open to listening to someone who is willing to criticize honestly,” he said stressing good will and not anger or contempt for an interfaith dialogue.
Conference on “Religions and Contemporary Awakening” gathered Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish leaders in Tehran to discuss different views on the present movements of the world and what religious leaders could contribute to the movements.