Opening channels of communication with others is one of the most important steps to achieving familiarity and building trust. Muslims should definitely look to employ such methods to improve peace, harmony, love and respect – all of which are factors promoted by Islam.
The late Imam Al-Zahri said, “People would be in conflict upon meeting before Islam, upon truce they trusted one another and met and negotiated without dispute.”
Today, we must continue to open these channels of communication at various levels and with many different people. Be it politicians, priests, intellectuals, normal citizens or even youth in their academic institutions. Islam calls for us to be transparent and approach others to hear their opinions.
Let this strategy be the common denominator of values among people, to protect them from unspeakable terrorism while also spreading the culture of peace which many including Muslims strive for.
This was the aim of the Muslim Council of Elders and the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies upon their founding in 2014. They brought together people from all religious backgrounds to help clarify Islam’s true compassionate and non-threatening side. The subsequent meetings resulted in great openness and a good understanding among Christian leaders in particular. This culminated in a shared vision for understanding and coexistence among all that live in Muslim countries and abroad.
Such a great and noble approach had to somehow be incorporated within youth circles, who often pay the biggest price when it comes to peace or war. They can either be the leaders of tomorrow or be engulfed in the fires of extremist though which can only lead to destruction and killing.
It was for this reason that the Muslim Council of Elders and the Church of England set up the ‘Emerging Peacemakers Forum’, which brought together 50 young people from different background between July 8 to 18 to help build peaceful coexistence and establish a nucleus for continuous communication with a broader understanding of methods that best deal with disagreements.
It is agreed that there is no room to exclude others or to expand hatred and fighting among one another. Unfortunately, it has been planted in the minds of some that Islam is a source of terrorism which led them to conspire against us and set us backwards in all facets. Therefore, we must receive these misconceptions through our good treatment and openness to show the true face of our religion and its rich and tolerant culture.