Politics divides societies – not religion, sect or tribes

Source: Khalij Times

By Amira Agarib / Dubai

Coexistence can’t be achieved without respecting the values, cultures and norms of others, Dr Rashid Al Khayoun says

It’s politics that divides societies, not religion, sect or tribal cultures, an Iraqi scholar said at the Arab Media Forum on Monday.

“For centuries, people in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East lived in harmony, without their tribal, sectoral or religious differences coming in between them,” Dr Rashid Al Khayoun said while talking on ‘Coexistence Through Dialogue’.

“Coexistence can’t be achieved without respecting the values, cultures and norms of others. This was never a problem in our history. No Sunni attacked Shia or Kurds – without political reasons. The problem of lack of coexistence comes from politics – not religion or sects,” he stressed, referring to the present sectarian crisis in parts of the Muslim world.

Dr Al Kahyoun said democracy is the rule of majority.

“However, democracy also respects cultures of minorities and their rights – whereas religion and sect go beyond borders,” he said. “Today, the difference amongst different sects, tribes and religions are being exploited for political reasons. The present environment of lack of coexistence has got nothing to do with religion or sect – but it’s politics.”

Dr Rashid Al Khayoun referred to poetry and historic evidence to prove that Arabs – Kurds, Muslims, Christians and people from other faiths – lived together peacefully without major problems among them.

“One of the fundamental aspects of coexistence is to respect others’ cultures, norms and system. One can’t impose their views and way of living on others. This is where politics comes to play a role. People in Iraq lived in harmony for centuries accepting the way of life of their neighbours belonging to other sects without problems,” he said.

“The present environment is dictated by politics and supremacy of one against the other. Now religious verses are used to suit the requirements of individual sects and widen the rift between sects. It’s not religion – it’s politics,” he stressed.


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