WASHINGTON, DC, 5th February, 2017 (WAM) — Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, President of the Forum for Peace in Abu Dhabi, has participated in a roundtable conversation on religious tolerance and understanding with students, faculty, religious scholars and policy experts at Johns Hopkins University Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.
During his talk, Sheikh bin Bayyah focused on the philosophy of peace in Islam and how it combats hatred to the extent of criminalising it. He emphasised the need to take the twofold approach of countering violent extremism in all of its forms and manifestations, and promoting coexistence and peace in the world. Sheikh bin Bayyah called for formulating a cultural and intellectual strategy to combat extremism and violence in order to strengthen peace in the world.
The Forum for Peace focuses on supporting Muslims, enabling them to take the path of modernity without sacrificing their moral identity. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the forum emphasises that renewing Islamic scholarship and understanding must be rooted within the matrix of tradition, but correctly communicating these philosophies to the masses is crucially important.
At the discussion, Sheikh bin Bayyah encouraged the intensification of efforts to resolve conflict through mediation and reconciliation initiatives, and promoting peace plans specifically in areas of tension within the region. Calling on Muslim scholars to unite under a banner of inclusion and understanding, Sheikh bin Bayyah stressed, “…the concept of peace is above and beyond everything”.
Bin Bayyah highlighted the need to create a philosophical foundation of peace through understanding Islamic traditions and their true purpose. He spoke of the need to be vigilant in identifying those who are compassionate to the true teachings of Islam and those who deviate from them for any personal agenda or power.
He discussed one of his most successful initiatives, the Emirati Scholarship Development Programme for the Development of Future Scholars, 70 percent of the graduates of which are women, focusing on navigating the challenges of globalism.
Sheikh bin Bayyah was in Washington at the invitation of the US Congress to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event held on the first Thursday of February every year with representatives of all the major religions from around the world, members of Congress, dignitaries, diplomats and members of the business community.